Isabel Sandoval is a New York-based filmmaker whom The Museum of Modern Art has recognized as a "rarity among the young generation of Filipino filmmakers." She has produced, written and directed three full-length features, including Señorita (2011), which premiered in competition at the Locarno Film Festival and was nominated for Best Picture by the Young Critics Circle of the Philippines. Señorita also won the Emerging Director Award at the 2012 Asian-American International Film Festival. Her second feature film, Apparition (2012), a period drama about cloistered Filipino nuns during the Marcos regime, premiered at Busan International Film Festival and won at prestigious festivals including the Hawaii International Film Festival and the Deauville Film Festival. In 2017, MoMA featured Apparition in its series "A New Golden Age: Contemporary Philippine Cinema" alongside works by Filipino masters Lav Diaz and Brillante Mendoza. Her third feature, Lingua Franca, a Brooklyn-set immigration drama, has received support from IFP, SFFILM, Frameline, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Jerome Foundation, and the Tribeca Film Institute. It premiered at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival and released internationally to wide acclaim. Ava DuVernay's ARRAY film collective acquired the film's North American rights where it debuted on Netflix in August 2020. She has been featured in Cahiers Du Cinéma, The Criterion Collection, NPR, Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, New York magazine and Salon.
At MacDowell, she worked on drafts of her upcoming dramatic features: Tropical Gothic, about Spanish missionaries converting the natives to Catholicism in 16th-century Philippines, a 2020 Locarno Open Doors Lab selection; and Baptism, a mixed-race adoption drama set in Brooklyn. In November 2019, Sandoval was awarded the SFFILM-Westridge Foundation screenwriting grant for Baptism.