Filmmaker Patrick O’Brien was a rising star on the New York arts scene when I met him in the late 1990s and collaborated with him on some industrial and commercial projects and a screenplay. He was also known on the club scene as DJ Transfatty and was an Internet-meme making prodigy, directing singular and wholly compelling works such as UFO Mofo and Born Again Porn Star. In 2005, Patrick was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), a terminal disease that results in the progressive degeneration of the nerves and muscles that are responsible for voluntary movement, including breathing. He was thirty, and was given two to five years to live.
Very much alive ten years after that diagnosis, Patrick has in that period fathered both a son and a feature-length documentary that will be premiering at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival: Transfatty Lives. He has been amassing footage over the time since his diagnosis that relates his epic battle with ALS, presenting Patrick’s personal reflections on the transformative effect of this disease, not only for himself but also for those around him. In a recent Facebook posting Patrick explains the process that lead to the 85-minute feature premiering in a few weeks:
We utilized technology in a huge way on this film. We used every format of camera, from Hi-8 to Hi-Def, from 16mm to 35mm to anamorphic..... not to mention Skype, con calls and space time travel. This epic 10-year odyssey only exists by the grace of God and a T1 line ---- hallelujah! Because Team TransFatty are in different cities, the post production was done through email. The director stayed in bed for one year finishing this film. Because he is unable to move, he types with his eye. – POB 4/4/15, Facebook
To quote directly from his website’s description of the film,
This unconventional motion picture explores what it means to live, what it means to die and what is important in life. Containing no talking heads or lengthy interviews, instead the film relies on a distinct visual style all its own. It's an unapologetic look at survival that promises to raise some eyebrows and turn heads. ALS freezes the human body but leaves the mind sharp.
There is a current Crowdfunding project is to get the star, storyteller and director of this epic documentary Patrick O’Brien, from his home in Boston to NYC next week for the premiere at the Tribeca Film. He nees a full medical team to travel with him and expenses do accrue. Please help if you can, by spreading the word at the very least:
Screening dates & times for Transfatty Lives at the Tribeca Film Festival:
6:15 PM - THU 4/16 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11
5:00 PM - FRI 4/17 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11
8:45 PM - TUE 4/21 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11
6:30 PM - THU 4/23 BOW TIE CINEMAS CHELSEA