Man MadeT Cooper, 93 min, USA.
MAN MADE takes us into the heart of transgender male (FTM) culture, revealing unexpected truths about gender, masculinity, humanity and love. Four trans men (who like the film's director were born and raised female), take a variety of life paths toward stepping on stage at Trans FitCon, the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world (held in Atlanta, GA). MAN MADE is a character-driven, intimate, and riveting verité-style competition film, but also a unique social justice narrative. It speaks to the ways in which we all choose to define and reshape ourselves, both figuratively and literally.
The strength on display in MAN MADE transcends the physical: Rese is a young father struggling with periods of homelessness; Dominic seeks out his family of origin, confronting an alternate history for himself; Kennie 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, works daily to be the man he's always wanted to be—on both the inside and out. We follow these subjects' 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.
“Intimate... touching... an affecting portrait of four transgender men... [with] a traditional sports movie climax.” —The Hollywood Reporter
"Compelling... a penetrating documentary which gets remarkable access to its subjects... An honest, universal look at body issues and the navigation of relationships." —The San Francisco Chronicle
"Fascinating." —The Advocate
"Compelling and emotional."—Film Inquiry