Trans Fil-Am filmmaker receives Trailblazer Award

Trans woman filmmaker Isabel Sandoval. (FB/Isabel Sandoval)

Transgender Filipino-American filmmaker and actress Isabel Sandoval was honored with a Trailblazer Award, which was given for the first time at the recent Dorian Awards of the GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment.

GALECA board member and Variety’s senior artisans editor Jazz Tangcay presented the award during the three-hour Dorians Film Toast 2021, shown on 18 April on the LGBTQ+ streaming platform Revry.

Sandoval, who recently wrote, produced, edited, directed and starred in the film Lingua Franca, was awarded “for creating art that inspires empathy, truth and equity.”

She has made two films in the Philippines — Señorita in 2011 and Aparisyon (Apparition) in 2012. Señorita competed at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland and was nominated for Best Picture by the Young Critics Circle of the Philippines. She won the Emerging Director Award at the 2012 Asian-American International Film Festival for her first feature film.

On the other hand, Aparisyon won several international awards. She moved to the United States, transitioned and made her first English-language film, Lingua Franca, which was shown on Netflix.

Sandoval won Best Actress at the 18th Pacific Meridian International Film Festival of Asian Pacific Countries in Vladivostok, Russia, for her role as an undocumented trans woman working as a caregiver in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, who has to resort to marriage to be legal and falls in love with the grandson of the woman she is caring for.

The Dorian Awards, now in its 12th year, honor outstanding works in film and television, both mainstream and LGBTQ+, with a queer perspective. It is given by the GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, which was founded in 2009 as the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association.

The name is a tribute to gay Irish writer Oscar Wilde, who is known for the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, among other things.

The other winners of this year’s Dorian Awards are Nomadland (Best Film and Most Visually Striking Film); Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Best LGBTQ Film); Minari (Best Non -English Language Film); Chloé Zhao for Nomadland (Best Director); Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman (Best Screenplay, original or adapted); The Forty -Year-Old Version (Best Unsung Film); Disclosure and Welcome to Chechnya (Best Documentary and Best LGBTQ Documentary, tie); Carey Mulligan for Promising Young Woman (Best Film Performance, Actress); Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Best Film Performance, Actor); Yuh-Jung Youn for Minari (Best Film Performance, Supporting Actress); Daniel Kaluuya for Judas and the Black Messiah (Best Film Performance, Supporting Actor); Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga (Campiest Flick); Radha Blank (“We’re Wilde About You!” Rising Star Award); Dolly Parton (Wilde Artist Award); and Leslie Jordan (Timeless Star).


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