‘OFW Films’ premier in 2019 BFI London Film Festival

London — Two films on the trials and travails of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) debuted in the UK during the BFI London Film Festival on October 9 to 12, 2019.Isabel Sandoval’s “Lingua Franca” was screened at Vue West End on October 9 to 10 while Sung-A Yoon’s “Overseas” was screened at the ICA Cinema and BFI Southbank on October 10 and 12, respectively.

“Lingua Franca” is the story of Olivia, an undocumented immigrant in Brooklyn who works as a caregiver for Olga, an aging Russian woman in the throes of dementia. Olivia struggles to juggle the pressures of her work with the looming of the threat of deportation as she anxiously documents her staged relationship with a man who has agreed to marry her in order for her to obtain legal status in the US. Later on, Olivia eventually meets Alex, Olga’s grandson, who is also wrestling with his inner demons. Over time, both Olivia and Alex develop a strong connection with each other. As Olivia’s hopes to obtain a green card fizzle out, she turns to Alex as her only hope of stability and security in a foreign land she must now call her home.

Meanwhile, “Overseas” is a close look at the life of Filipino women who leave their homes and their families to work overseas. In this 90-minute film, director Sung-A Yoon bares the personal stories, heartaches, and struggles of countless female OFWs who are in the constant pursuit for a brighter future for their families in the Philippines.

“Cinema is a powerful tool in telling the story of a country and its people,” Ambassador to the United Kingdom Antonio M. Lagdameo said. “Philippine representation in film festivals such as BFI London is an important platform for the Philippines to tell the story of its people to a global audience.”

The BFI London Film Festival is one of the UK’s biggest annual film festivals. Every year, the BFI London Film Festival screens around 300 films, documentaries, and shorts from around 50 countries worldwide.

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