States of Migration Film Series

The Journey of Monalisa

Photos: Provided by the filmmaker

The Journey of Monalisa

Release Date: 2019
Runtime: 93 minutes
Director: Nicole Costa
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Countries: Chile, United States
Synopsis: Chilean-born performer and writer Iván Monalisa fully embraces his/her dual selves: scrappy, masculine Iván as well as diva, travesti sex-worker Monalisa. A reunion with filmmaker Nicole Costa, Iván's former college classmate, provides the opportunity for a journey through this undocumented transgender immigrant's daily life of sex, drugs, and poetry—as well as a quest for US legalization. Pragmatic and humorous, Iván Monalisa navigates the gritty underbelly of New York City with charisma and charm. Nicole Costa intersperses recent scenes of Monalisa's attempts to get a visa and their first successes as a writer with old VHS footage, snippets of telephone conversations, and extracts from their work: beautiful, raw pieces about life and survival in New York.
Director Bio: Nicole Costa is a Chilean actress, filmmaker, and producer based in New York with a career spanning more than 15 years. She received her Bachelor in Dramatic Arts from the University of Chile in 1997. She moved to Spain to study Audiovisual Communication at the Complutense University of Madrid in 1998. Her debut as a director for her short film Danger & Alone, co-directed with Mary Monahan in 2018, premiered at the Santiago International Film Festival (SANFIC). Her first feature documentary film, The Journey of Monalisa, premiered at the Valdivia International Film Festival in 2019 and has been selected by many international film festivals and won several awards.

Week One
November 12 to 15

The Hemispheric Institute presents the States of Migration Film Series

This series of powerful short and feature films, curated by the Hemispheric Institute, seeks to center stories of migration and expulsion from the Americas. These are tales of harrowing journeys, desperate measures, deep solidarities, and courageous political action. Through these stories, filmmakers reveal not only the degradations perpetrated by nation-states and their border regimes, but also the tenacity of people who imagine life beyond their reality.

About this film series

Free screenings are available each week Friday through Monday, from November 12 – December 13, 2021.

About HemiTV

HemiTV is the Hemispheric Institute’s portal for live streaming and virtual programming, developed for the Zoom era and beyond.