When The Garden Left Behind premieres March 9 at South By Southwest, it will make history as perhaps the first film to star and be produced by 50 trans actors and filmmakers. But just in case you’re not making the trek to Austin, Out’s got an exclusive first look at the picture.
From queer, Latinx filmmaker Flavio Alves, The Garden Left Behind traces the relationship between Tina (newcomer Carlie Guevara), a young Mexican trans woman, and her grandmother Eliana (Miriam Cruz, I Love You Phillip Morris), as they navigate Tina's transition while building a life for themselves as undocumented immigrants in New York City. It also stars Anthony Abdo, Tamara Williams, Ivana Black, Kristen Lovell, Danny Flaherty, Alex Kruz, Michael Madsen, and Ed Asner.
The film, which boasts a cast with transgender actors in trans roles (Imagine that!) and Latinx performers in Latinx roles, is the first independent picture to be partially crowdfunded through eBay, and received support from GLAAD, Trans Filmmakers Project, and Film Society of Lincoln Center, among other organizations.
In an interview with the film festival, Alves spoke about his commitment to queer storytelling.
“Transgender rights and visibility are slowly becoming part of the mainstream conversation,” he said. “I believe it’s my responsibility, as a Latinx queer filmmaker, to bring to the forefront stories of people who have historically been underrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized for being who they are.”
He added: “I hope that by watching our film, people gain a more compassion for the transgender community, and that the next time one of the viewers meets a trans person, that will see them as regular people worthy of love and respect.”
In our exclusive clip, which you can watch below, the community has gathered at a local laundromat to discuss organizing in the name of Rosie, a trans woman who “was dragged to the ground by some who was supposed to protect us,” says Amanda Rodriguez’ Lily.
“We ask, ‘Why?’ But we know why,” she continues. “From the the moment Rosie spoke her truth, she had a target on her back, the same one that I wear, the one that we all share. And I don’t know about any of you, but I am sick and tired of living like this… We have the right to exist. We might be the children of a lesser god, but it is a god nonetheless.”