On a darkened city street, Larissa, a young trans woman, says hello to a few of her friends as they try to pick up men. They note that the occupant of a parked car has been watching them but he hasn’t made a move yet. Larissa is curious, and she saunters over to the car to find a handsome man, Cláudio, sitting behind the wheel, and he protests when she sits in the passenger seat. After a few seconds of disagreement, Cláudio agrees to take Larissa down the street. Ary Zara’s An Avocado Pit is a film about connection, respect, and attraction. Over the course of a few hours, these two people will flirt, banter, and come close to exploring each other’s lives. Director Ary Zara is the first transgender director to be shortlisted for Live Action Short, and he cannot be the last.
Joined by Elliot Page, the Oscar-nominee reveals his first reaction to Zara’s film. The word honesty keeps getting brought up throughout our conversation, but we can all agree that we have never seen anything like Avocado before. If we have a trans lead character, there is oftentimes violence or tragedy, but Zara steers clear of that. Larissa, a captivating Gaya de Medeiros, wants a man who proudly stands by her side, but does Cláudio have the wherewithal to step up?
In addition to Avocado, the Animated Short Film shortlist features Pete, a colorful, delightful film about gender identity and Pedro Almodóvar’s A Strange Way of Life is in the hunt for Live Action Short Film. Last year saw the inclusion of Warsha (a queer short about a construction worker who sees himself as a drag queen), but that film didn’t make the final five. Zara and Page are optimistic about the future of trans stories, but they want a wider breadth of stories, filmmakers, and release. An Avocado Pit centers on a trans woman, but it speaks to the universal desire to be loved, respected, and listened to.
*We talk about a lot of spoiler-y moments from Zara’s film. We recommend that you rent the film here (a steal at $1!) before watching our conversation with Zara and Page.**