OF TWO MINDS: A Bipolar Documentary (Filmmaker Interview)


OF TWO MINDS is an award-winning feature documentary that explores the struggles and successes of people living with bipolar disorder.

In this interview with PsyWeb.com, filmmakers Doug Blush and Lisa Klein discuss the inspiration for the documentary, the intended message of the film and the feedback they've received thus far.

What is "OF TWO MINDS" about?

OF TWO MINDS is an intimate documentary following three years in the lives of extraordinary people dealing with the many issues of bipolar disorder. We intentionally made the film not as a textbook discussion of bipolar with doctors and experts, but instead as a dramatic, sometimes tragic, sometimes comic journey into real lives, struggles and successes of our group of subjects. We let those who are living with bipolar tell their own stories, instead of passing judgement or advocating specific ideas, and from the response we’ve had, we think we made exactly the right decision.

What inspired you to make the documentary?

The original inspiration of the film is co-director Lisa Klein’s sister Tina, who dealt with a bipolar diagnosis in the '80s and early '90s. Although Tina passed away in 1994, Lisa continued to want to understand what her sister went through and felt, and she found that a film that opens up the lives of people living in the normally hidden and stigmatized “bipolar closet” was what her sister would have so wanted.

What message are you hoping the film sends?

The absolute central goal of the film is to open up the dialogue about bipolar and show the real, everyday trials and successes of people dealing with it. So often the media coverage of bipolar, and mental health in general, is centered either on celebrity scandals or violent public standoffs, when in fact these are both a tiny minority of the lives of people with mental illness.

We wanted to show not only the challenges of bipolar but also the real everyday, positive moments that add up to good lives being lived by so many with the disorder. We want people to be able to talk about it, debate it, share resources – even laugh about it. So much of the stigma around bipolar comes very simply from silence.

By shining a light on this, we also hope that it makes people feel less alone - both those who are dealing with this and their families. It’s important to know that everybody is dealing with something.

How has "OF TWO MINDS" been received thus far?

We’ve had phenomenal response to the film across the country: We’ve sold out film festival screenings, won Grand Jury and Audience awards, given special screenings at universities, community groups and mental health treatment organizations nationwide, and have a long list of people following the film on social media. Our Facebook page has more than 1,000 likes and is gaining dozens more every week.

The most gratifying experiences when showing the film to these audiences are the people who come up to us after and tell us that we’re the first ones they’ve felt they could come out to about their diagnosis or about someone in their family. This has happened again and again, and it truly makes the long road of making the film so worth it. We even had an entertainment writer in Canada use the review of the film to come out about his own diagnosis to his readers – there’s nothing quite like hearing news like that.

Where has the documentary been screened?

A very quick list includes theatrical screenings in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco and across Canada; festivals in Cleveland, San Francisco, St. Louis, Chicago, Newport Beach, and many more; and community and special screenings at University of Virginia, University of Massachusetts, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the Skokie Public Library main theater, Wichita Falls, Texas, Colorado Springs, Helena, Montana and the University of Michigan, Indiana University, with much more to come.

Where will it be screened in the future?

Upcoming venues include the Loft Theater in Tucson, AZ, Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) National Convention in San Antonio, Texas, as well as the NAMI California State Convention. More screenings are being booked every week, and our website and Facebook page will have those details as they happen.

We are very proud that our deluxe DVD (with an hour of bonus material) will be released by major distributor Docurama/Cinedigm on May 15th, 2013, and will be available through their website and on Amazon, as well as digital releases to iTunes and cable Video on Demand. We want as many people to see it all over the country and beyond as possible, and we hope to hear lots of continuing feedback from the community.

Watch the Trailer

'OF TWO MINDS' Trailer

Order the DVDs

'OF TWO MINDS' on DVD: Shipping begins May 15th. Also available on Amazon and iTunes starting May 15th.

Educational DVD (available now)


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