Program 04: Transformer
Directed by Michael Del Monte
WARNING: This film contains graphic images of cosmetic surgery procedures.
Matt “Kroc” Kroczaleski is a star on the powerlifting and body-building circuits, gracing the covers of numerous magazines, posters, and sponsorship campaigns. But during the summer of 2015 a YouTube blogger outed Matt’s part-time life as Janae, and like so many other outed individuals, Janae is forced to take control of her narrative before it runs amok.
Janae is heartbroken after losing her sponsors and being banned from competing. But as a former Marine and general all-around “bad ass,” she seeks to reconcile what she’s always viewed as disparate parts of herself: her love of power lifting, the swagger, self-assurance, and knowing that “no one will f*** with you,” contrasted with her love of softer things like “feminine” clothes, make-up, and “cute” haircuts.
Having been on and off hormones numerous times over the years (alternately testosterone to build muscle as “Matt,” then taking estrogen to reverse those effects as Janae) she has spent years of her life attempting to find her way between what often feels like conflicting realities. She openly struggles with her identity and not ‘passing,’ asking herself, “will I ever have peace?” She holds a genuine thirst for both worlds and knows that she must retain the aspects of herself that she most values, even if the world sees them as contradicting extremes. She wends her way through issues of body image, her values as a parent to three sons, being true to herself, and balancing her varied priorities. She knows that ultimately she wants to live as Janae full-time but vacillates on what that means for her life and what changes she must make.
What we witness in this film is a search for authenticity on a deeply intimate level and the creating of an inner harmony amidst seeming antithetical poles. If you have heard one trans person’s story, you have heard exactly that: just one trans person’s story. Yet the similarities lie in the determination, resilience, and commitment to self that trans folx must have in the face of our culture’s dissent. Janae steps out on that path and takes the high road to finding her way.
— Jennifer Morgan
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- JURY AWARD, BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – Austin Film Festival
- AUDIENCE AWARD, BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – Austin Film Festival
- AUDIENCE AWARD, BEST CANADIAN DOCUMENTARY – Hot Docs Canadian
Int’l Documentary Festival
- EMERGING CANADIAN FILMMAKER AWARD, Michael Del Monte – Hot Docs Canadian Int’l Documentary Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – OUTshine Miami LGBT Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (Montana)