Film Archive

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
TransFatty Lives Patrick O'Brien

At the age of 30, DJ TransFatty gets the fatal diagnosis: Lou Gehrig’s disease … and henceforth points the camera at himself. A chronicle of decay – sarcastic, self-deprecating, bad, wild, off-beat. Wheelchair Punk.

TransFatty Lives

Documentary Film
84 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Patrick O'Brien, Michele Dupree, Amelia Green-Dove, Darin Hallinan, Marcia Mohiuddin, Doug Pray
Patrick O'Brien
Bradford Reed
Ian Dudley
Lasse Jarvi
Augenblick Studios, Inc.
Patrick O'Brien, Lasse Jarvi, Doug Pray
Lenny Schmitz

The author, director and protagonist of this moving “art project of my existence” was 30 when he was diagnosed with ALS. A degenerative nerve disease that switches off one muscle after the other until the patient finally suffocates. Only the brain remains intact to the last breath. Patrick, an anarchist underground filmmaker and known as DJ TransFatty to millions of online fans, points the camera at himself from the moment of diagnosis. Writing an imaginary letter to his son whom he fathered – incredible enough – when he was already half-paralysed, he tells the story of his increasing deterioration as a kind of travelogue. Memories of a past life depicted in clips from earlier, wilder films are disrupted by images of incipient paralysis until the narrative is completely focused on the now. Despite the increasing loss of control this now is an enormously busy place, also in terms of artistic creation, and brings us what must be the weirdest wheelchair sequence in recent documentary cinema. At the same time, doubts, lover’s grief or political comments are built into this chronicle in such a tongue-in-cheek and gaily sarcastic manner that the image of the paralysed body disappears behind the creative spirit determined to communicate with the world. The wonderful thing is that Patrick O’Brien really translated his life into a work of art. Matthias Heeder

Young Eyes Film Award 2015