‘All th­ese flow­ers’

Doc­u­men­tary seeks to de­fine bipo­lar dis­or­der

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - HOT ONLINE - BY ANCELENE MACKINNON

At the base of a Colorado moun­tain, un­der the faint glow of the sun, a man gath­ers flow­ers and weeds with no two the same.

To the side, Kevin Bryce films the spon­ta­neous se­quence that, un­be­knownst to him at the time, will in­spire the ti­tle of his doc­u­men­tary about bipo­lar dis­or­der.

“Peo­ple who are di­a­betic aren’t se­cret about it, but men­tal ill­ness is very unique in the way it is re­ceived by so­ci­ety.” Kevin Bryce

“I told him to go out and walk around. At the end of the se­quence he had a rus­tic-look­ing bou­quet. He said he wanted to have one of each from the lit­tle field,” said Bryce.

“To me, it was a beau­ti­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the dis­or­der in that ev­ery­one with the dis­or­der has the same di­ag­no­sis, but it man­i­fests it­self very uniquely based upon the per­son­al­ity of the per­son.”

“All Th­ese Flow­ers” is a doc­u­men­tary that seeks to de­fine bipo­lar dis­or­der, but more im­por­tantly, it seeks to ex­pe­ri­ence the life and strug­gle of those who have been di­ag­nosed with it, said Bryce, a film­maker orig­i­nally from Summerside.

He trav­elled back to his home­town from Kansas City to present a free screen­ing of his award-win­ning film re­cently.

The film, which fo­cuses on six peo­ple in five states across the Mid­west, was re­leased in Septem­ber af­ter a two-year process.

“I was in­spired by the fact that I know sev­eral peo­ple who are di­ag­nosed with bipo­lar dis­or­der who do not share it openly for rea­sons of stigma,” he ex­plained. “Peo­ple who are di­a­betic aren’t se­cret about it, but men­tal ill­ness is very unique in the way it is re­ceived by so­ci­ety.”

This is his sec­ond film and to date there have been screen­ings in Kansas City, Utah, Wis­con­sin and Chicago.

Bryce was the re­cip­i­ent of the 2015 Gold Spot­light Doc­u­men­tary Film Award.

“I’ve been re­ceiv­ing a lot of won­der­ful feed­back, and a pos­i­tive re­sponse from the men­tal health com­mu­nity. It was really great to have the film com­mu­nity re­spond pos­i­tively as well.”

Bryce said the take­away from his re­search is the topic can’t be clearly de­fined, and as the ti­tle al­ludes to, it is com­plex and dif­fer­ent for each in­di­vid­ual.

“I want peo­ple to walk away with the fact that bipo­lar dis­or­der is not who a per­son is, it is just one of the many char­ac­ter­is­tics of who they are.

“There’s a line in the film where a woman’s doc­tor told her to stop say­ing, ‘I am bipo­lar’, and to start say­ing, ‘I have bipo­lar dis­or­der.”

Making doc­u­men­taries is a joy, but a lot of work, he said.

“It’s worth it to hear peo­ple laugh, gasp or sigh, but it’s most im­por­tantly worth it to chal­lenge some­one’s idea about some­thing, and to chal­lenge my­self in what I be­lieve and think. I see ar­eas where I can im­prove, but I am ex­tremely pleased with it. I think it will re­ceive enough recog­ni­tion to pro­pel me into a third. It’s not go­ing to win any Os­cars but it’s enough to keep go­ing.”

Visit allthe­se­flow­ers.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

ANCELENE MACKINNON/TC ME­DIA

Film­maker Kevin Bryce from Summerside has a new doc­u­men­tary on bipo­lar dis­or­der, “All Th­ese Flow­ers.” It is a doc­u­men­tary that seeks to de­fine bipo­lar dis­or­der, “but more im­por­tantly, it seeks to ex­pe­ri­ence the life and strug­gle of those who have been di­ag­nosed with it.”

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