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Transgender Documentary ‘Transformer’ Bought by Gravitas (EXCLUSIVE)

Gravitas Ventures has bought all U.S. rights to Michael Del Monte’s transgender documentary “Transformer,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The distributor will release “Transformer” theatrically on Oct. 19 for an Academy Award qualifying run along with being available on demand.

“Transformer” won several awards at the Hot Docs International Film Festival including the Rogers Award for best documentary, the emerging filmmaker award and the overall audience award. Additionally, the film was awarded the audience award and best feature documentary award at the Austin Film Festival.

“Transformer” tells the story of Matt Kroczaleski, a bodybuilder, world-record powerlifter, cancer survivor, father, and former U.S. Marine, as he transitions into a woman, now known as Janae. The film features Janae raising her three teenage sons, coping with her parents’ reactions, and her undergoing vocal and facial feminization surgery. The documentary shows the struggle Janae endures as she fights for her identity and place in society.

The documentary was produced by Tad Munnings and Paul Kemp of Storystream Creative with support from the CBC’s documentary channel, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund, and the Canadian Media Fund.

“When I set out to make this film I wanted to avoid bringing in any professors, psychologists or ‘experts’ to speak about the subject,” Del Monte said. “I didn’t want the audience to hear about how they need to respect people who are transgender because they are struggling. I wanted the audience to see the struggle and feel the struggle, so it was vital that Janae tell her own story.”

Laura Florence, VP of sales and marketing for Gravitas, said, “Janae’s story of resilience is one that needs to be told and seen onscreen. We are proud and consider it a privilege to be bringing this inspirational story to audiences everywhere.”

Nolan Gallagher from Gravitas Ventures negotiated the deal with Tad Munnings, Paul Kemp, and Michael Del Monte. LevelFilm and the CBC Documentary Channel will release “Transformer” in Canada, with LevelFilm representing remaining worldwide rights.

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