The critically-acclaimed documentary Queen of Lapa from directors Theodore Collatos and Carolina Monnerat will have its much-anticipated New York premiere as part of the documentary competition at the 31st edition of New Fest: New York’s LGBTQ Film Festival, taking place October 23 to 29.
A favorite at numerous international film festivals, including Sheffield, Maryland, Australia’s Antenna Documentary, and Scottish Queer, winner of the Alternative Spirit Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival and named Best SHOUT Feature Film at the Sidewalk Film Festival for best LGBTQ film, Queen of Lapa is an intimate and captivating portrait of renowned cabaret performer, activist, and sex worker Luana Muniz, one of the most influential transgender Brazilians in history.
Humanizing issues around transgender sex work in Rio de Janeiro—a city currently governed by a conservative Evangelical mayor in a nation presided over by a far-right head of state – Queen of Lapa offers a look into the lives of sex workers whose very existences are battled on dual fronts: for identifying as transgender in an openly hostile sociopolitical environment in addition to making their livelihoods through prostitution.
A proud sex worker since the age of eleven, Muniz, has helped to usher in a more tolerant reality for new generations of trans sex workers by offering housing and protection, through her “hostel,” in the crime-heavy neighborhood of Lapa. Collatos and Monnerat’s documentary explores the day-to-day lives, rivalries, and quests for love of “Luana’s girls,” as Muniz offers them mentorship in a country recognized for its violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Along with profiling an unsung heroine, this fly-on-the-wall verité documentary humbly listens, sans judgement, to frank discussions of transfemme victory – and tragedy – on the streets of Lapa.
Theodore Collatos (Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor). Theodore began his career as an award-winning street photographer, moving organically into documentary, experimental and dramatic filmmaking often in partnership with his wife and producer Carolina Monnerat. His feature Tormenting the Hen won the Duncan-Williams Scriptwriting Award at the Indie Memphis Film Festival in 2017. Past award-winning shorts include Time (2013), Albatross (2014), and Truth with Wine (2016), a Nitehawk Short Film Festival winner.
Carolina Monnerat (Director/Producer). Carolina grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and began a professional Ballet career when she was just thirteen. Having toured the world first as a ballerina, then as a modern dancer, Carolina’s artistry has stretched across countries, nationalities and races. In 2011, Monnerat retired from dance and produced On Point and Move, two dance films that played the festival circuit. Alongside her husband, her producing credits include Dispo (2013), Time (2013) and Albatross (2014). Queen of Lapa is Monnerat’s feature documentary debut.