2 films on OFWs Screen in 2019 BFI London Film Festival

Olivia speaks with Olga, the Russian woman she is taking care of.

Two films on the trials and travails of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were screened the UK during the BFI London Film Festival in multiple cinemas from 09 to 12 October 2019.

Isabel Sandoval’s Lingua Franca will screen at Vue West End from 09 to 10 October while Sung-A Yoon’s Overseas will screen at the ICA Cinema and BFI Southbank on 10 and 12 October, respectively.

Lingua Franca is the story of Olivia, an undocumented immigrant in Brooklyn who works as a caregiver for Olga, an ageing Russian woman on the throes of dementia. Olivia struggles to juggle the pressures of her work with the looming of 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 a legal status in the US. Later on, Olivia eventually meets Alex, Olga’s grandson, who is also wrestling with his own 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.

A scene from Overseas where a group of trainees carefully observe how to bathe a baby.

Overseas, on the other hand, is a close look at the life of Filipino women who leave their home 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,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo. “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 representing around 50 countries worldwide.

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