Isabel Sandoval burst onto the international independent film scene with her directorial debut Señorita. That film, about a transgender woman involved in a political campaign, helped Sandoval understand her own identity as a trans woman. But it’s her breakout, critically acclaimed 2019 drama Lingua Franca that made the world fully take notice of her incredible talents. Both starring and directing in the film, Sandoval received multiple award nominations and wins for her sensitive and thought-provoking work.
Sandoval makes her television debut with episode six, “Revelation,” of FX’s acclaimed true crime drama series Under the Banner of Heaven. The series’s broad ambitions perfectly fit not only Sandoval’s directorial style but also her personal experiences with faith. Rather than simply focusing on the brutal true crime events of the murder of Brenda Lafferty and her young child, the series expands its focus to tackle basic faith versus extremism, crises of faith, and the core foundations of the Mormon faith.
It’s a deeply felt series that challenges in every way, but Sandoval found that experience perfectly suited to her sensibilities.
Here, in an interview with Awards Daily, Isabel Sandoval talks about focusing on character relationships and the intense emotional moments experienced during her episode. She reveals how, while working on episode six of a 7-episode series, she still found ways to incorporate her lived experiences and personal style into the material. She also talks about negotiating difficult domestic trauma scenes between stars Daisy Edgar-Jones and Billy Howle. Finally, she talks about directing Oscar-nominated star Andrew Garfield whose extraordinary subtle performance culminates in a shatteringly emotional breakdown at the end of “Revelation.”
Under the Banner of Heaven streams on Hulu.