Groundbreaking Transgender Documentary Re-Launches Campaign to Raise Needed Funds

A Self-Made Man is a documentary about a transman's youth advocate and his personal journey and transition.
Photo: Lori Petchers
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A Self-Made Man is a documentary about a transman's youth advocate and his personal  journey and transition.  Photo: Lori Petchers

A Self-Made Man is a documentary about a transman’s youth advocate and his personal journey and transition.  Tony (right) guides kids “as young as 8, and their parents, through the confusing journey of defining themselves.”
Photo: Lori Petchers

Film explores transgender issues through an intimate portrait of youth advocate Tony Ferraiolo.

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut –A Self-Made Man, a documentary that takes an unprecedented inside look at what it means to be transgender, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise finishing funds. The campaign, which runs just one more week through January 24, 2013, still needs contributions to meet its goal, according to documentary officials.

A Self-Made Man is told through the poignant personal story and important life work of Tony Ferraiolo, a transgender youth advocate.  In 2008, after a courageous female-to-male transition at work and motivated by his own experiences of fear and isolation, Tony formed transgender support groups for kids and their parents.  According to Don A., parent of a transgender youth who as benefited from the group, “Here’s a guy who just recognized the need for these kids and did it….“

In a location disclosed to only people he trusts, we watch Tony guide kids as young as 8, and their parents, through the confusing journey of defining themselves, when their physical appearance conflicts with how they view themselves.  Emphasizing their need for a transgender community, Tony says, “I love that they can come to this group, that they can be around kids their age and really talk about what is common in their struggles.” Tony has been honored by Lambda Legal for his work and is slated to be featured in an upcoming article in The New Yorker.

As Tony comes to terms with all the complexities of his own life as a transgender person, the kids in the youth group and their parents grapple with the reality of their uncertain future.

“Meeting him was just a blessing for our family,” according to Holly M., another parent of a trans child.

A Self-Made Man examines the complicated dynamics of transitioning from multiple perspectives.  Director Lori Petchers explains how she came into this making this documentary,I was drawn to this project by a friend who is a parent of a trans boy. She introduced me to Tony, and very quickly I discovered that his story was fascinating and compelling — a deeply human struggle – so I had to tell it.”

Her Kickstarter campaign is seeking a total of $12,000 for finishing costs such as music composition & licensing, editing, and color correction. Once completed, A Self-Made Man will be submitted to 2013 film festivals, as well as seek broadcast distribution deals. To thank supporters, A Self-Made Man is offering a wide range of rewards, from a T- shirt, to DVD copies of film, to director Q&A at home screenings.

“I hope that A Self-Made Man will bring a wider audience to a point of greater empathy, humanity and understanding,” said director Lori Petchers, who has already completed filming.

Lori Petchers is an award-winning documentary filmmaker/video artist whose films have screened at numerous festivals and venues such as Palm Springs International Shortfest, Provincetown International Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, and Cleveland International Film Festival. Lori received an Artist Fellowship Grant in Film/Video from the State of Connecticut and a regional Emmy nomination for her work. Her film and video work aspires to confront social norms and stereotypes through both traditional and non-traditional media.

Kickstarter, founded in 2009, is a crowd-sourcing funding platform for creative projects.

Since launching in 2009, more than 30,000 creative projects have been brought to life on Kickstarter, through the direct support of others. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or- nothing – projects must hit their predetermined funding goal by deadline before any money changes hands.

For more information, to view the film trailer, and to find updates on Kickstarter, visit:

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