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THE JOURNEY OF MONALISA
Streaming available in the U.S. from 11/5 12:00 AM ET - 11/11 11:59 PM ET.
Virtual Q&A: 11/8 8PM ET. Link will be sent to ticketed audience.
Dir. by Nicole Costa
Chile | 2019 | Documentary| 93 min
After 17 years, Nicole Costa gets in touch with Iván Ojeda, her old Chilean friend from college. Back then he was a talented theater director and playwright, but it turns out he has reinvented himself. Iván now goes by Monalisa and works as a sex worker on the streets of New York. Intrigued by this transformation, Costa decides to follow Iván Monalisa, a “gender-neutral two-spirit,” in their tough and vulnerable life filled with fleeting sexual encounters and addiction to hard drugs. Nonetheless, Monalisa does continue to write beautiful, raw pieces about life and survival in New York. Recent scenes of Monalisa’s attempts to get a visa and her first successes as a writer are interspersed with old VHS footage, snippets of telephone conversations and extracts from her work. All this is framed by scenes of Monalisa proudly parading through the streets of New York—a living artwork searching in the shadows for the light of self-expression.
TW: The film includes description of sexual assault, rape, and violence.
CW: The film also includes drug use and full frontal nudity.
When Iván Monalisa showed me his/her writings for the first time on handwritten notebook sheets, I felt dizzily transported to all those years when I had no word from him/her: A journey filled with sordid landscapes, arrests, drugs, lonely johns, infatuation and disease. And without a hint of victimhood or resentment, let alone guilt. Paradoxically, his/her tale transmitted not only tenderness but strength and a great sense of friendship. His/her stories really moved me. They had clearly been written without caring about other people's expectations, and once again, I
was certain that I was in front of a natural born artist, authentic and marginalized; a survivor. Understanding his/her complexity as a transgender person and being an active participant in his/her artistic and personal achievements, is one of the most rewarding gifts I have received in the process of this work, as well as the unchallenged proof that love and respect are the most effective encouragement in the exertion of empathy and tolerance.
Nicole Costa is a Chilean born, New York-based actress, filmmaker and producer. In 2017 she received the award for Best Actress at the Queer Lisbon Festival. In 2018, she premiered at SANFIC (Chile) the short film Danger & Alone co-directed along with Mary Monahan. Her first feature documentary film The Journey of Monalisa (2019), premiered at DOC NY(US), IDFA(Netherlands), DocsBarcelona(Spain) among others, and was awarded as Best Latinx Film in the United States by Cinema Tropical in 2021, Best Winner Best Documentary Film ZINEGOAK IFF (Spain), Special Jury Prize FEMCINE10 (Chile), Winner Márgenes Award REDFECI (Chile), National Film Award for Best Feature Film DocsVALPARAISO (Chile), Special Mention of the Jury FECILS (Chile), Winner Best Documentary Film LesGaiCineMad (Spain) and Best International Feature Film at VoxFeminae FF (Croitia)
Virtual Live Q&A
11/8 8PM EST
Director Nicole Costa will join us for a virtual live Q&A. Link to the Q&A will be sent to ticketed audience.
Single Film Tickets
Streaming available from 11/5 - 11/11.
Including a virtual live Q&A on 11/8 8PM ET.
Regular: $10.00 | Suggested: $15.00
ALL Access Pass
Access to watch all 10 virtual films from 10/29 - 11/18.
Including full access to all Q&As.
Regular: $40.00 | Suggested: $50.00
Paying the suggested amount helps us sustain the program. Thank you!
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