Prizm News / April 9, 2019 / By Ken Schneck

Mason Caminiti (Film still courtesy of roadside entertainment.)

A new documentary highlights the lives—and sometimes heavy weights—of being a trans male bodybuilder.

By Ken Schneck

You think you killed it at the gym and ate more sensibly today? Well, odds are, your regimen doesn’t hold a candle to Mason Caminiti’s daily routine.

“Two hours of cardio a day, light weight training, preparing all of my meals ahead of time, and then drinking close to a gallon of water a day,” lists Caminiti. “Yeah, it’s a lot. But it’s worth it.”

One of only a small number of FTM body builders who competes in mainstream competitions, Caminiti’s journey to compete in Trans FitCon for the first time was captured in the new documentary Man Made. Having already made the rounds at film festivals all across the country, the film will premiere at the opening night of the International Sports Film Festival of Ohio on April 11 at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus. Caminiti will be there to answer questions, and having sat in multiple screenings in the past few months, he is pretty sure you will have a reaction to the film.

“I’ve seen people laugh and I’ve seen people cry,” says Caminti. “I’m moved by the fact that people are so affected by the film.”

As the synopsis promises:

MAN MADE takes us into the heart of transgender male (FTM) culture, revealing unexpected truths about gender, masculinity, humanity and love. Four trans men take a variety of life paths toward stepping on stage at Trans FitCon, the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world (held in Atlanta, GA). MAN MADE is a character-driven, intimate, and riveting verité-style competition film, but also a unique social justice narrative. It speaks to the ways in which we all choose to define and reshape ourselves, both figuratively and literally.

(Film still courtesy of roadside entertainment.)

As one of the six subjects of the film, Caminiti feels honored that some audiences have been educated by the content, while others have felt validated by seeing their trans experience up on the big screen for the first time. But for Caminiti, the best reaction hit distinctly more close to home.

“My crazy religious father wanted to attend a screening, but I wasn’t sure about him seeing the film,” recalls Caminiti. “After he saw it, he told me he was proud of me, which is one of the first times I heard him say that. That was a really big deal.”

Caminiti has no regrets about participating in the film, nor baring his life—he openly shares his struggles with bipolar disorder—in the up front way that he did. He identifies two factors as key to his openness for all the world to see: a distinct level of comfort with T Cooper, the trans director, and the unique opportunity the film presented to reclaim his past.

“Life can be about so much more than survival,” says Caminiti. “I beat the odds and I love that audiences will get to see that.”

Man Made premieres at the opening night of the International Sports Film Festival of Ohio at 7pm on April 11 at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus.