Both intimate and gloriously poetic, The Journey of Monalisa paints an aptly complex and empowering portrait of New York-based author and performer Iván Monalisa Ojeda. After 17 years, director Nicole Costa reconnects with her former classmate Iván Ojeda, who was known at the time as a talented theater director and playwright but has now reinvented themself as Monalisa. Intrigued by this transformation, Costa follows the gender-neutral two-spirit Iván Monalisa through the streets and clubs of New York, in their tough and vulnerable life filled with sexual encounters and addiction. All the while the ever-resilient Monalisa continues to write beautiful, raw pieces about life and survival in New York.
Recent scenes of Monalisa’s attempts to get a visa and their first successes as a writer are interspersed with old VHS footage, snippets of telephone conversations and extracts from their 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.
Q&A with director Nicole Costa and subject Iván Monalisa Ojeda to follow, moderated by Dominic Colon (New York Latino Film Festival)
Screening Room at The Center
208 West 13th Street
Free to attend
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.