Following a successful film festival run at Outfest, Frameline, Woodstock and SXSW, where it won the Visions Audience Award, The Garden Left Behind, the debut feature by Flavio Alves opens on virtual cinemas across the country on Friday, August 28, followed by a VOD release on Tuesday, September 8. The independent film is being released by Uncork’d Entertainment and Dark Star Pictures.
The Garden Left Behind tells the story of Tina (Carlie Guevara in a breakthrough performance), a young Mexican trans woman who lives with her grandmother Eliana (Miriam Cruz) in New York City as she navigates her transition and the pair struggle to build a life for themselves as undocumented immigrants. As Tina begins the process of transitioning, Eliana struggles to understand Tina and fears that their life together in America is no longer what they bargained for.
Tina finds camaraderie in a small but mighty transgender advocate group but soon ends up having to fight for the life that she’s meant to live—facing violent threats, seemingly insurmountable medical costs, questions about her legal immigration status, and increasing skepticism from the man she loves. As she begins to lose all hope, Tina has unknowingly become the only hope for a shy young man who has been watching her closely from afar.
Featuring an authentic cast, with transgender actors in trans roles and Latinx performers in Latinx roles, The Garden Left Behind became the first independent film to be partially crowdfunded through eBay and received support from organizations such as GLAAD, Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, Trans Filmmakers Project, IFP Narrative Lab, NALIP, and Film at Lincoln Center, among others. Alves’s unsentimental drama is committed to exploring the challenges faced by the transgender community as a whole by capturing their experiences through Tina’s journey on screen.
Brazilian-born writer, director, and producer, Flavio Alves was granted political asylum in the United States in 1998. He earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Columbia University. After graduating, Alves worked as an assistant to then-New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). In 2007, Flavio returned to school to study film production at New York University, where he received the Technisphere Award for Outstanding Achievement. He has produced over twenty films and directed six, including The Secret Friend (2010) and Tom in America (2014). In 2018, Alves received The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Artist Academy fellowship. Alves is the founder of Queens Pictures, a New York-based film production company.