Welcome back to More of a Comment, Really…, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Clint Worthington! Every episode will feature interviews with actors, filmmakers, producers, and more, giving you the skinny on the latest films and TV.
(This interview is part of our coverage of the 37th Reeling LGBTQ+ International Film Festival.)
Even in an age where trans visibility is higher than ever before, it’s doubly important that authentic trans stories are told with sensitivity and care. To that end, stories like Flavio Alves‘ The Garden Left Behind, about a trans Latinx woman (played with admirable confidence by young unknown Carlie Guevara) trying to make her way through her transition and life as an undocumented immigrant in New York City, feel especially important.
Tina, Guevara’s sensitively-rendered protagonist, is at once a bellwether for the trans experience and a character with her own unique problems. Not only is she going through the typical growing pains of her transition, she also navigates the complications of paying the bills, entangling herself in trans activism, keeping a relationship with a cis man afloat, and more. Alves, a gay Brazilian refugee who worked hard to achieve his US citizenship, interviewed dozens of trans people to get a bead on their experiences, The Garden Left Behind feeling as much a narrativized ethnography as a piece of cinema.
While it screened at Reeling Film Fest in Chicago, I had the chance to sit down with Flavio to talk about a number of things surrounding The Garden Left Behind‘s production and politics – its unusual road to crowdfunding, the importance of casting trans and Latinx people in authentic roles, and charting the cycles of violence that tragically befall trans people of color at a disproportionate rate. You can listen to the full podcast below.