Trace Lysette has always been here for the community — and now she needs our help promoting her new, Oscar-hopeful film.
Lysette is the star of Monica, a film centered on a trans woman that debuted at last year’s Venice Film Festival to critical acclaim. Now, the movie has a distribution deal, and the filmmakers are hoping for a strong awards season push. The movie, and Lysette’s performance, are even getting early Oscar buzz.
Monica comes from Italian director Andrea Pallaoro (Medeas, Hannah) and follows a trans woman (Lysette) who is estranged from her family and returns home to care for her sick mother (Patricia Clarkson) who she hasn’t seen since before transitioning. It also stars Emily Browning, Adriana Barraza, and Joshua Close.
When the movie premiered at the Venice Film Festival, it, and Lysette, received an 11-minute standing ovation. Not only was Monica the first film with a trans lead to play at the festival, but people who saw it praised it for its revolutionary portrayal of a trans story, and praised Lysette for her performance.
Normally, a lead actor like Lysette would have their publicist working hard in the months leading up to a film’s release and awards campaign. However, as Lysette says in the video posted to promote the GoFundMe, she’s never had the money to hire a full-time publicist.
Now, Lysette is being encouraged to try to hire a publicist for the movie for six months. She said her goal is to pay for two of those months herself, and is reaching out to her friends, family, and fans to help pay for the others.
“Trans stories are important. And when they get the resources to do well, we just might get more of them,” she said in her Instagram post. “Hopefully I don’t have to connect the dots about how these stories affect our quality of life and how society makes space for us. MONICA deserves a fair shot and so I come to you with nothing but love and the dreams of our transcestors. 10$, 20$… no amount is too small, we know it takes a village!”
Thankfully, the community is coming through for Lysette, who has been a long-time role model, leader, and inspiration for trans and queer people. So far at the time of writing, the GoFundMe has raised over $23,000 of its $30,000 goal!
Lysette posted an update after securing enough funding to hire a publicist for four months. “Because of your generosity we have just about reached the 4 month goal and so we are going to shoot for the full 6!” she said. “I am still going to pay for two of those months myself. This is so far beyond what I expected and has been such a lesson in vulnerability and validation.”
“Once we reach our 6 month goal any extra donations will help to secure more months to fill out the year, furthering our promotion for this special film,” she added.
Monica is a special movie and deserves a wide audience and a fair chance at Academy Awards. And thanks to the generosity of Lysette’s friends and fans, it looks like it will be getting that.