New Documentary Features Transgender Bodybuilders
By Mila Madison
Executive produced by Téa Leoni (Madam Secretary) and directed by transgender screenwriter T. Cooper (The Get Down), Man Made follows the lives of four transgender men as they get ready to compete at the only all-transgender body building competition in the world at TransFitCon in Atlanta, Georgia.
The story features Rese, a young father who is struggling with periods of homelessness; Dominic, who seeks out his family of origin and confronts an alternate history for himself; Kennie, who admits to himself and his loved ones who he is for the first time in his life; and Mason, a loving husband who struggles with mental illness and works daily to be the man he's always wanted to be—on both the inside and out.
The film follows the emotional and physical journeys as they navigate lives as the men they are, despite very real risks inherent in the current social and political climate. For the men of Man Made, it's not about winning—it's about being seen.
"During this particular cultural and political moment, when protections for transgender people (and so many others) are being rolled back at alarming rates, and when violence against trans people is surging, and when a vociferous segment of the population—not to mention a new administration—is challenging our very right to exist as humans (i.e. use a toilet, have access to safe health care, or possess legal ID)," said Director T. Cooper in a statement released on the film's website. "I believe that this project and ones like it are more vital than ever. Man Made is unabashedly trans-made, offering unique and relevant transgender stories, which emerge from the inside out, as opposed to from the outside looking in."
Cooper says he was encouraged to make the film by Leoni, who is a longtime friend.
“I met T years ago [but] had not heard him lit up like this about something, maybe ever,” Leoni told Entertainment Weekly. “Because I got a call very early on about it, the first part of my involvement was just encouragement. I knew the film had to be made and I knew he had to make it."
Man Made makes its word premiere on April 22nd at the Atlanta Film Festival.