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TRANSFATTY LIVES (#HotDocs15 Review)

transfatty-lives-film-posterTRANSFATTY LIVES

Directed by Patrick O’Brien

Patrick O’Brien, also known as TransFatty, is a NYC based DJ and experimental filmmaker. While making a film about Howard Johnson’s restaurants, O’Brien is diagnosed with ALS and is told that he will only live for two to five more years. O’Brien abandons his Howard Johnson’s project and turns the camera on himself. He films his fast deterioration from being a day-drinking joker into a paralyzed victim. Yet, O’Brien does not let his ALS get in the way of the film he is making on his life. Instead he sets up a camera rig on his wheelchair and continues his journey. O’Brien notes that there is still one part of him that still works, which leads him to having a son. After the birth of his son, O’Brien changes the focus of his film, deciding to make it a testament of his life for his child to watch one day.

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O’Brien is truly inspiring and even the coldest of viewers will warm to his story. Even when using a computer to speak, O’Brien is still cracking jokes. What is perhaps most remarkable about TRANSFATTY LIVES is that O’Brien continues to direct the film throughout the most difficult stages of his disease. Looking past the fact that O’Brien’s story is incredibly moving, the director also crafts a wonderful film. TRANSFATTY LIVES is funny, sad, engrossing, and is even quite disturbing at moments. The film may change directions without notice but the one true constant about the film is that it is great.

4 sheep

TRANSFATTY LIVES had its International Premiere at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival as part of the Next program, which focuses on the arts, creativity, music and pop culture.

Remaining Screening Schedule …

Saturday, May 2, 6:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

For more information and for tickets, please visit

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