At 30, Patrick O'Brien was TransFatty, a New York City DJ, internet personality, and filmmaker. He spent his days as a beer-drinking creative force, making art films about perverts, vulnerable souls, and Howard Johnson's restaurants. Then his legs started shaking.
Defying sentimentality, TRANSFATTY LIVES takes you on an emotional rollercoaster from Patrick's wild, fun—loving days into the dark heart of ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease). Given 2 to 5 years to live, Patrick first loses his ability to walk, then to move his arms, then to swallow, and even to breathe.
With the support of his bewildered friends and family Patrick braves the unthinkable and turns his camera onto himself. As the director and star of his own documentary, Patrick films every step of his debilitating journey from first diagnosis through his current paralysis. Forcefully lacking self—pity, he captures the emotion, humor, and absurdity of real life as he makes art, gets political, falls in love, fathers a son, and fights extreme depression and paranoia.
At 40, Patrick has completed this film by typing directions to his editors with the movements of his pupils. Miraculously, TRANSFATTY LIVES is not a movie about death. Because, while Patrick's brain stopped being able to control his muscles, it remains brilliantly alive, allowing him to ask: "What if my diminishing physical abilities can be inversely proportional to my journey inward?" And, more importantly, "will there be bacon and unicorns once I get there?"
“One of the most stirring, poignant films to screen at Tribeca.”— FilmForward.com
“...bold in his approach and unafraid of risk-taking, choices that offer a clear-sighted window into his world”— EyeForFilm.UK
“...he's reminded us that no one should ever be defined by the things they can't control, but by what they choose to express and put into the world, circumstances be damned.”— WayTooIndie.com
Winner - Audience Award - TRIBECA Film Festival
Official Selection HOTDOCS Film Festival