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Elliot Page-produced short film 'An Avocado Pit' has made Oscars history: 'We dare to dream'

Ary Zara; An Avocado Pit scene; Gaya Medeiros
Images courtesy of London Flair PR

Director Ary Zara and actor Gaya Medeiros tell The Advocate why it was important to highlight trans joy in the Academy Award shortlisted film, An Avocado Pit.

Director Ary Zara and actor Gaya Medeiros didn't intend to make history when they began working on An Avocado Pit, but almost three years later, the short film has reached further than either could have ever dreamed.

An Avocado Pit follows the meeting of Larissa, a trans woman, and Cláudio, a cis man, as their worlds collide in a heartwarming story free from violence. Executive produced by Elliot Page and Page Boy Productions, the film has been shortlisted for the 96th Academy Awards, making Zara the first transgender director to be considered in the Oscars' Live Action Short category.

"It wasn't a goal to get to the Oscars, I don't think it was even in our imagination," Zara tells The Advocate. "Gaya's from Brazil, I am from Portugal. We are both trans artists, and I think that even though we are very creative, this didn't fit in our universe. So it has been, of course, overwhelming. At the same time, we feel grateful, but I think that we are also very scared to dream this big dream and then fall. But we dare to dream and we will be dreaming every day until the day we know that we are going to be nominated."

Zara, who also wrote the screenplay, said that it was important to highlight trans joy "because it's also true." While narratives often focus on the violence affecting the community, acceptance and hope exist, which he says "we need to see in order to believe."

"Fortunately for me and Gaya, it happens a lot. We are able to love. We are able to have fun. We are able to experience real joy," he continues. "And it is important for us to understand that this is also a layer, and when you start to go through your transition, it is usually a very powerful moment. You you start to be yourself, you start to be happier. "

To Medeiros, who made her acting debut in An Avocado Pit, the film holds a universal message about identity and relationships that transcend gender. This is reflected in the film's main characters and its scarcely-portrayed bond between a transgender woman and cisgender man.

"The focus [is] always on the trans person. But we can see this cis man trying to manage his thoughts, his feelings about this person, and we need to think about these narratives around the trans person," she explains. "Because it's always an existential question who you want to meet, who you want to have a relationship, and what kind of person do you do you want to have close to you."

She adds: "It's not about the body, but it's about the thoughts about who you are, who you want to be as a person in the world ... and when we are [questioning] like this with people in a safe environment, these questions can be processed in a qualitative way."

Zara also believes that there is significance in the relationship between the lead characters, as the person who cares for Larissa is also the person who, under different circumstances, could be her "oppressor."

"This man works like an archetype, that portrays the person who would ultimately be an oppressor of a trans woman," he says. "So, he's there for us also to deconstruct this archetype, because it is like this general image, but not every man is the same, not every woman is the same."

An Avocado Pit is available to watch through Vimeo on demand.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.