1. Lingua Franca
Written, directed, produced by, and starring Isabel Sandoval, a quadruple-threat Filipina filmmaker, Lingua Franca is a moving film about an undocumented trans caregiver (Olivia) in Brooklyn. Having exhausted every possible option to achieve legal status, she begins a romantic relationship with her elderly patient’s adult son in the hopes of a marriage-based green card. Lingua Franca is a heartfelt and touching tribute to the marginalized and an absolute triumph for representation: Sandoval’s Lingua Franca premiere at the Venice Film Festival marks the first time a trans woman of color participated in the competition.
2. The Paper Tigers
Is it a martial arts film, a comedy, a drama? No, it’s all three! The Paper Tigers is a high energy, hilarious, and surprisingly relatable story about three middle-aged men, each a former kung fu prodigy. They never thought their martial arts pasts would be valuable again in their adult lives, until their former master is murdered, and they vow revenge (after they get their kids to bed, of course). Written and directed by newcomer Bao Tran, and funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign, The Paper Tigers is a sensational watch.
In a near future where women are becoming infertile and cosmetic surgery is a major industry, Gwen (Jacqueline Kim) is a woman without many options. When she’s abruptly fired from her job, she agrees to be a test subject for a risky procedure in order to ensure her daughter’s future. Written by Jennifer Phang and Jacqueline Kim, and directed by Phang, Advantageous is a pensive, artful sci-fi drama — a winner for all fans of dystopian cinema.
According to sea.mashable.com