Man Made

Four transgender men compete at the only all-trans bodybuilding competition in the world

Man Made An affecting and honest portrait of four transgender men as they prepare to step on stage at the only all-trans bodybuilding competition in the world. Pushing beyond the expected tropes of tragedy and hardship in transgender lives, this hopeful doc reveals unexpected truths about gender, humanity, and love, and speaks to the ways in which we all choose to define and reshape ourselves.


LaurelAtlanta Film Festival - Winner Best Documentary Jury Award
LaurelMelbourne Queer Film Festival - Winner Best Documentary Jury Award
LaurelOutfest Los Angeles - Winner Best Documentary Audience Award
LaurelNewFest NYC - Winner Best Documentary Audience Award
LaurelNew Orleans Film Festival - Special Jury Mention

Reviews and More

Director T Cooper talk to CNN about the making of his doc here.

I urge everyone to watch the film, whoever you are. If only to watch someone becoming the best version of themselves – something we all crave.” – Dazed Beauty

Man Made upends the traditional documentary gaze… [and] resists the urge to turn the bodybuilders’ stories into narratives of simple, complete self-actualization; instead, it offers a testament to individual moments of joy—transformative in themselves.” – The New Yorker

The film’s kaleidoscope of experience is, at its core, a project of empathy and compassion.” – The Guardian

Focusing on competitors at different stages, facing a variety of issues, offers a complex, nuanced view, in a way that does a lot of heavy lifting for a small film.” – CNN

Intimate... touching... an affecting portrait of four transgender men... [with] a traditional sports movie climax.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Man Made is the rare crowdpleaser with genuine cultural value, and the largest muscle on display is the film's enormous heart... An intimate, devastating, and ultimately triumphant little movie. An assured crowd-pleaser, made with great love and insight.” – Out Magazine

Read an interview with the film's director, T Cooper on Film Enquiry here.

Listen to T Cooper on PRX talking identity, othering, and breaking the fourth wall here.

Find the full list of press coverage and interviews on the Man Made website here.

The Producers

T Cooper - Director/Producer

T Cooper is an award-winning filmmaker, best-selling novelist, journalist, and television writer-producer. He is the author of nine books, and Man Made is Cooper’s feature directorial debut. Man Made was a recipient of a Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program grant, and screened at more than 75 film festivals worldwide, winning more than a dozen Best Documentary and Audience awards. Cooper's first film, the animated short The Beaufort Diaries, premiered at SXSW and Tribeca in 2011. More info:

Téa Leoni - Executive Producer

Téa Leoni is an actor, producer, activist, and philanthropist, who stars in and produces the hit CBS drama Madam Secretary. Leoni is a long-time member of the National Board of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, which her grandmother founded in 1947. Her commitment to social justice is life-long, and her passion for advocacy and equality extends to a strong support for transgender rights, which Leoni believes is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time.

Making The Film

Director's Statement

"I made this film is because I didn’t see my own story—my life, my body, my family, my identity—on-screen. Or if I did see transgender male lives portrayed, they were often caricature, side shows, or worse, focused on what makes us (and keeps us) different and apart, as opposed to what makes us as human and recognizable as anybody else. I felt compelled to document and celebrate the trans lives I knew, to provide a counter-narrative to the common conceit that trans people are a problem to be overcome. I felt it imperative to show a full range of trans male life experience—from the inside looking out, rather than from the outside looking in.

Since its completion, Man Made has been embraced by audiences with uncommon passion. That is partly because of the generosity of my subjects and the trust we shared born of common experience, and partly because Man Made reveals not just what it means to be a transgender man, but what it means to be alive. At a time when civil rights for LGBTQ people (and so many others of difference) are being attacked and rolled back at alarming rates, I believe that this project and ones like it are more vital than ever. That if we insist on continuing to tell our stories, it will be harder and harder to erase us. Man Made is my story. But it is also the story of anybody who has done what it takes to become the person s/he is meant to be."

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