Family Matters: Surviving the Bipolar Journey

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 7:30 PM
Canada 2010. Director: Mary M. Frymire

Family MattersVANCOUVER PREMIERE!  A compassionate and timely documentary on the impact of mental illness within the family unit, the locally-made Family Matters follows four Lower Mainland families as they struggle to support a loved one with Bipolar Disorder, one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses. Each family in the film represents a stop on the life-long journey of living in and managing a family with the illness. Ted’s daughter Kathy, 21, has just been told she has Bipolar Disorder. Both have difficulties accepting the diagnosis and the need to seek help. Theresa’s 27-year-old daughter Valerie was diagnosed several years ago. Now Theresa fears that Valerie might be repeating her own mother’s tragic struggle with depression. Melanie and Keith have been married 24 years and have two young sons. While Keith struggles with the most severe type of the disease, Melanie has been keeping the household together, sometimes by sheer force of will alone. Melanie finally begins to realize that the one person she’s forgotten to take care of is herself. Denise and Michael, married for 44 years and happily retired, are only know beginning to learn how Michael’s illness affected their daughter Samantha while she was growing up. Ultimately, these are all inspiring portraits of hope and survival — showing us the true meaning of love and family. Colour, Digibeta video. 56 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Mary M. Frymire, director of Family Matters: Surviving the Bipolar Journey. An award-winning filmmaker with more than 25 years experience, Frymire has developed, directed and produced documentary and dramatic projects in over 57 countries, working in four different languages. Her work has been broadcast on the National Geographic Channel, Discovery Canada, BBC, Knowledge Network, CBC TV, Global TV and other outlets. Frymire also has a personal connection to this story: both her mother and sister suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

Melanie McGinnis is a working mother of two young boys (Connor, 14 and Kyle, 9) and has been a committed wife to her husband Keith for over 20 years. Keith suffers from Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder. His frequent episodes have made raising a family a constant challenge for Melanie, but through it all she has found a way to take care of herself and keep her family together.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia. Co-sponsored by the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation and the Vancouver Community Mental Health Services Family Advisory Committee.

Co-sponsored by the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation and the Vancouver Community Mental Health Services Family Advisory Committee.