TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Lily and the Dragonflies

René Guerra, Juliana Vicente

TFL Awards

TFL Audience Award 2013 (€ 30.000)


In the city of São Paulo two stories are interconnected by a decadent building within the city’s downtown sex district. Lily and Miranda live door to door. Lily has always been somewhat foolish, but after the removal of her breasts due to cancer, her journey takes a different course: she falls in love with Miranda, a transvestite who works as a reseller of transvestite accessories. Miranda goes through hard times: her boyfriend is in jail and she decides to turn herself in at the station where he is being held, in an innocent effort to remain close to him. While incarcerated, she is rejected by her boyfriend and raped by all of his cellmates. Lily decides to help Miranda, but for that she must build a new identity that can be respected in that underworld. Lily dresses as a man. Miranda, already out, begins to use violent methods to dominate other transvestites, becoming the most feared bawd downtown. The transvestites get together to come up with a plan to kill her. Lily asks for the help of the Dragonflies, malformed transvestites who hide in the city’s Central Park. The Dragonflies help Lily find Miranda and tell her about the ambush. Miranda doesn’t listen and is attacked by a large group of transvestites armed with razors.
Lily finds Miranda again at the park. Miranda is completely destroyed, her gaze seems to be off. Lily promises to take care of Miranda forever. Both of them just sit there, man and woman, two armours torn and inverted, like Adam and Eve, in a dirty paradise in downtown São Paulo.


While in Russia, during the first FrameWork workshop, I had a dream. I woke up in the middle of the night to jot it down on a notebook; I always do that, I have a Jungian therapist. The following day when I returned to the second script discussion with Franz Rodenkirchen, it felt like a cinematographic therapy session. In my dream, I had inherited the body of a transvestite to direct my film. To inherit this body meant to wear it, experience it, feel it under my skin, make gestures and walk with it; it meant to understand why I always throw my hands up in the air like Carmen Miranda and why my shoes need to be sturdy. At the end of the day I looked for the transvestite so I could give her back the body, completely worn out. She had left me a note: “My dear, now it’s definitely yours.”

Lily and the Dragonflies is an immersion into the underworld of transvestites in downtown São Paulo, a world made up of fables and urban tales. It is where ghouls and ghosts with no official identity reside; most of their bodies are given pauper’s burials; most often than not, their unsolved murders turn into statistics for they are seldom investigated because, as the cops say, “each corpse gives out its own stink”. The stories of the downtown transvestites are basically orally transmitted. Their memories live on in the tales passed on by the survivors, embellished with tragic, fantastical undertones, sometimes to serve as a warning to the younger ones and to remind them of the path of those who fell into this life, like Alice fell into the hole in the search for the White Rabbit. These are my heroines, those who reinvented themselves, building up a kind of armour that allows them to survive in this world without becoming anonymous victims.

Lily and the Dragonflies is a story about the love of a woman for a transvestite, a story that follows the deconstruction of a suit of armour and the construction of a new one. Miranda, the transvestite, must face everything and everyone so that she can be close to the man she loves, even at the cost of her own life. And Lily, who needs to reinvent herself, creates a suit of armour so she can set out on her journey out into the world in the search for Miranda.

To shoot a transvestite is to capture two presences in one body and that alone is a nature’s event. Formality may help me balance such a strong image, for we will be working with transsexual actresses. They always say with irony and humour: “If you’re working with transvestites, work with us, it will be cheaper because the special effects are already built-in”. The journey of Lily and the Dragonflies is full of little details and great learning experiences.

budget & financing

Preta Portê Filmes aims to develop audiovisual projects that combine art and communication for a diversified market. Lily and the Dragonflies is the result of the work we have been doing with director René Guerra since The Shoes of Aristeu, his first short, and the documentary Who’s afraid of Cris Negão?, an investigation into the transvestite universe and gender identity. Transvestites are still placed inside an underworld, victims of constant violence from society. Through this contact came a new perception on how they build these characters that use the same violence directed to them as armour that allows them to survive. We seek projects that are not only of great artistic relevance, but also deal with contemporary issues and a universal sense of human emotions. As a young producer, I find this film very challenging and we keep on working with projects with the same theme that are the grounds for our research. Searching for relevant stories with great potential and a creative partnership with the director is one of my main goals as a producer. We are moved by the challenge of winning audiences in Brazil and abroad. We have applied for PROAC (a regional fund in the state of São Paulo), from which we expect to get € 300,000 for production and we will apply for other Brazilian funds until the end of the year. We have participated of other Labs - BrLab, Taller Colón, Rotterdam Lab and EAVE Puentes Australab, in which we won a prize of € 30,000 for post-production and met potential partners for co-production. I consider FrameWork the necessary space for developing international partnerships for Lily and the Dragonflies that will be shot in 2014.

distribution & sales

For a film that is so important to us and with such a delicate subject, finding a partner for Lily and the Dragonflies is not easy. We wish to find a foreign partner that can collaborate with the development and distribution, it is important that together we assure the universality of the film. This is the first feature film of director René Guerra and I need to assure that the spirit of the project is kept until the end of the process. That is why our potential partners should present a body of work that matches our beliefs, films that communicate in a larger sense, beyond the basic needs of the market. This is crucial to understanding our project and building a solid partnership, specially concerning its international visibility. For Lily and the Dragonflies, we are seeking sales and potential partners that could help the film move around the world. Our primary target: Brazil holds the largest gay community in the world, that promotes important events such as the Gay Parade (the biggest in the world) and there are a lot of potential investors in this group. This is our most solid and reliable audience, although our previous films have a history of reaching the ‘regular’ spectators, winning several prizes of public and critic. We are aware of the film’s potential; we believe Lily and the Dragonflies will have an international career, which will lead to a more open distribution circuit. We also have made contact with some sales agents that are very interested in the project, but we hope that our participation in FrameWork will help us elaborate more to actually close deals with partners, sales agents and distributors.

Once upon a time, in a gothic building far far away, a breastless woman falls in love with a suicidal transvestite.
René Guerra

Scriptwriter, Film Director

Juliana Vicente


production notes

original title
Lili e as Libélulas

directed by
René Guerra

produced byPreta Portê Filmes
Rua General Goes Monteiro 301 Perdizes
05029-000, São Paulo

total production budget
€ 785.243,92

current financial need
€ 755.243,92