Is it ever rational to choose death? On Independence Day at Stern Ranch in central California, 77-year-old solar energy pioneer Bob Stern finds out he is seriously ill - possibly dying. Meanwhile, an elderly in-law is slowly declining on artificial life support in a hospital. Bob decides to cheat that fate and take his own life. His family tries to stop him. Bob sets up a video camera. Daughter Susan Stern (Barbie Nation) tells the story of her father's quirky, inspiring life and the difficult end-of-life choices faced by an aging population.

The Self-Made Man is now available on DVD and VHS . Click here to order a copy.

The Self-Made Man was nominated for two national Emmy awards. Go to to explore P.O.V.’s extensive web resources for the film.

The Self-Made Man was produced in association with ITVS and KQED Public Television with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.