Big Beach To Produce Period Allegory ‘Tropical Gothic’ From ‘Lingua Franca’ Filmmaker Isabel Sandoval

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EXCLUSIVE: Big Beach has announced that it will produce the upcoming feature Tropical Gothic from Lingua Franca‘s Isabel Sandoval.

Set in the 16th-century Philippines, Tropical Gothic is an allegory on Western colonialism about a Native Priestess who convinces her Spanish master that she is possessed by the spirit of his dead bride, in order to manipulate him into returning the farmland that the Spaniards seized from the native community.

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Sandoval and producer Carlo Velayo launched the project in 2020 at the Locarno Open Doors Hub—an international platform for feature projects within Latin America and the Caribbean looking for international collaborations. The pair received the VFF Talent Highlight Award at the Berlinale Talent Project Market in March, with the associated prize money going toward the film’s development. Sandoval will direct from her script and star, with Michael B. Clark and Alex Turtletaub producing for Big Beach, alongside Velayo. Production kicks off later this year.

Sandoval is a Filipina actress, writer, director, producer and editor whose film Lingua Franca made history at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, as the first in competition there to be directed by and star a trans woman of color. Sandoval’s third feature as director, and first filmed in the U.S., traveled a global film festival journey into 2020 and was nominated for the 2021 Film Independent John Cassavetes Spirit Award. Theatrical distribution followed via Ava DuVerna’s Array Now initiative, with the film now available for streaming via Netflix.

Sandoval also wrote and directed the features Señorita and Apparition—most recently directing the penultimate episode of FX’s limited series Under the Banner of Heaven, based on the book by Jon Krakauer.

Big Beach is an indie production company founded by Turtletaub and Peter Saraf in 2004, which has produced such notable features as Little Miss Sunshine, Loving, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and The Farewell. It’s also been behind such series as Starz’s Vida, Facebook Watch’s Sorry for Your Loss and Ry Russo-Young’s Nuclear Family for HBO. Upcoming releases from the company include Hannah Marks’ Tribeca-premiering drama Don’t Make Me Go, the recently-announced Disney+ pic Out of My Mind from director Amber Sealey, and the recent Cannes Un Certain Regard film Harka, directed by Lotfy Nathan. Big Beach is currently in post on Turtletaub’s upcoming feature Jules, starring Sir Ben Kingsley.

Sandoval is repped by CAA, Team 713 Entertainment and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

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