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The Garden Left Behind

By Judith Oehman

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 7/23/19 – In the charming setting of Plaza de La Raza I viewed The Garden Left Behind, an award winning film.


The Garden Left Behind which Bears Witness to Anti-Trans Violence

directed by: Flavio Alves,


written by: John Rotondo and Flavio Alves

produced by: Roy Gokay Wol

Music by‎: ‎Robert Pycior



Hailed by critics as “Natural and graceful” (Hollywood Reporter), “Unforgettable” (, “speaks with heart and authenticity” (The Advocate), “an absolutely incredible film” (Film Inquiry), and “A vital piece of social justice cinema and a testament to the pain, strength and resilience of the trans community in America.” (Black Girl Nerds)”

The Garden Left Behind needs to have it’s seat at the table of LGBTQ cinema.


The is a film that is facing a difficult reception form the LGBTQ COMMUNITY.

It doesn’t take long for viewers to relate intimately with newcomer Carlie Guevar -one of nearly 200 trans women who auditioned for the role of Tina.


Tina plight – acceptance as a transgender woman in America and she struggles with daily fear undocumented people live with, fear deportation. Working as a gypsy cab driver to save money for her transition, Tina battles the constant anxiety of being undocumented.

She is  a 30 year-old who is transitioning.  Tina cares for, and is cared for by her grandmother, Eliana (Miriam Cru) who was left alone to raise Tina and who yearns to return to Mexico. Tina is always uncover, working as a gypsy cab driver to save money for her transition, Tina battles anxiety.  After yet another brutal beating ends up in the death of Rose the transgenter community yells out for all to be seen and hear… Tina follows and then lends the group, at great cost to herself.

The Garden Left Behind  writer and director Flavio Alves is timely in his desperate examination on the suffering of a populace who have no seat at the table.  The death of transgenders is on the rise, most noticeable in the black transgender popularization. They are lack acceptance and/or protection from savagery  both physically and emotion.  A film that quietly brewing the cup of emotions stiffing our sense of social change, oppression, intolerance and acceptance. a boiling kettle  steaming of emotions melting us until our fears are exposure. We the protected, those who do not know the violence and fear that greet other individuals at home, at work and on the street each day.  we have a glimpses of the shadows of the soul, the suppression of ego.  It sneaks up on you, slowly takes your self worth. We see how lack of acceptance take ones free will.

We are reminded that transgenders lead the way. The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. This incident was one of the first recorded LGBT-related riots in United States history, preceding the more famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York Before Stonewall

There was  vital and love and pain and empathy it has slowly dawn out on a blood soaked canvas

The Garden Left Behind transcends the character’s suffering because they defy the typical trans tropes often found in film. “This story depicts Tina as a real person,” explained Lovell (co producer) “We see her in some of the most vulnerable moments of her life simply trying to exist in a world that tells her she shouldn’t.”

this is a cast:



Devin Michael Lowe 
as Shannon

Pablo González 
as Magic Brandon

Christine Nyland 
as Mary

Adam Kee 
as Thomas

Will Krisanda 
as Leo

Sarah Skeist 
as Tricia

Edward Asner 
as Dr. Cleary

Danny Flaherty 
as Oscar

Alex Kruz 
as Jason

Bernadette Quigley 
as Dr. Brown

Miriam Cruz 
as Eliana

Dawn Young 
as Miriam

Anthony Abdo 
as Chris

Brock Yurich 
as Chester

Tamara Williams 
as Carol

Frances Lozada 
as Officer Gottilla

Kristen Parker Lovell 
as Regina

Tym Moss 
as Demos

Amanda M. Rodriguez 
as Lily Villahermosa

Sidiki Fofana 
as Adrien

Ivana Black 
as Amanda

Lea Nayeli 
as Brianna

worth remembering, we will see them again.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.