Imagine creating an award-winning documentary just by moving your eyebrows.
Patrick O’Brien, who was diagnosed with ALS 10 years ago at age 30, spent 10 years producing the highly acclaimed ALS documentary “Transfatty Lives.” The film, which won the 2015 Audience Award at the Tribeca and Milano Film Festivals, will have its Boston premiere on April 3 at the Revere Showcase Cinema.
Patrick, who lives at the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL) in Chelsea, is entirely immobilized and on a ventilator. He directed and produced ‘Transfatty Lives’ entirely by using his eyes to communicate through a special device attached to his computer. ‘Transfatty Lives’ takes one on an emotional roller coaster from Patrick’s wild, fun-loving days as a DJ and filmmaker into the dark heart of ALS. With the support of his friends and family, Patrick braves the unthinkable and turns his camera onto himself. He is able to capture all of the emotion, humor, and absurdity of real life – falling in love and fathering a child along the way.
‘Transfatty Lives,’ so named because of O’Brien’s love of donuts and other junk foods, depicts O’Brien’s personal reflections since his ALS diagnosis.
In Patrick’s words: “ALS is a fatal and incurable disease. I have chosen to do something with my illness. As you will see, I turned the camera on myself and began to document my journey with ALS. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”
The Leonard Florence Center for Living, operated by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, is the first urban model Green House in the country and the only fully vented ALS residence in the world. O’Brien moved into the LFCL soon after it opened in 2010, after living in a traditional nursing home that kept him confined to his bed – and his room – 24 hours a day. Today, in addition to producing films, O’Brien travels, attends concerts, sporting events and movies.
“We are so proud of Patrick and excited to show his remarkable film to the Boston community,” states Barry Berman, Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO. “Patrick’s talent, passion and perseverance in the face of such a devastating disease is an inspiration to us all.”
The premiere will be held at the Revere Showcase Cinema, 565 Squire Rd in Revere at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 3. Tickets are $20 per person and include the film, a Q&A with Patrick O’Brien and a reception following the premiere.
All proceeds benefit the Patrick O’Brien Foundation. To purchase tickets, go to www.reelboston.org. For more information, email Judy Mastrocola at [email protected] or call 617-887-0001.