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Artists seeks production support for Fil-Am film ‘Lingua Franca’

/ 02:33 AM January 23, 2018

Consul General Theresa Dizon-De Vega (center) shows her support for the creators of “Lingua Franca” during the film’s kickoff. From left, Cecilia Mejia, Gigi Dement, Isabel Sandoval, Jhett Tolentino, Richard Kim, Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz Popov. CONTRIBUTED

NEW YORK — A group of Filipino American producers are building financial support for a film venture that will tackle immigration, family, Filipino values, LGBTQ rights, among other social issues.

To introduce the film the Lingua Franca kickoff event was held at the Fridman Gallery in New York January 16.


Written and directed by Isabel Sandoval, Lingua Franca is a promising take on an undocumented Filipino transwoman’s immigrant experience in Brooklyn, New York. Tony and Grammy awardee Jhett Tolentino; Oscar winner Gigi Dement; Cecilia Mejia; and Richard Kim are producing the project, which will start filming in Spring 2018. Wisconsin-based lawyer Jerry Kerkman has pledged his backing as executive producer.


Isabel Sandoval, whose directing credits include Aparisyon and Senorita, considers the project as a personal testimony of the immigrant story, told from the perspective of an immigrant director.

Sandoval believes in the material that they have created and said that some of the artists they tapped have confirmed their involvement to the project based on the strength of the script alone.

Actors committed to star in the film are Lynn Cohen, Eamon Farren and Matt McGorren. The production team is in negotiations with Alan Cumming, Cynthia Nixon and Ivory Aquino for possible casting.

Consul General Theresa Dizon-De Vega graced the event and assured the filmmakers her support in promoting the film.

Investors and co-producers are invited to partner in the venture. A kickstarter campaign for the film will be launched at the end of the month.

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TAGS: Cecilia Mejia, family, Filipino American film, Filipino values, film financing, film production, immigration, Jhett Tolentino, LGBTQ rights, Lingua Franca, Oscar winner Gigi Dement, Richard Kim Jerry Kerkman
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