This marks the second year of collaboration between the Irish Film Institute and First Fortnight, in which films which engage with mental illness in an insightful and formative way will screen.
The first of these is ‘Infinitely Polar Bear’ starring Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) from director Maya Forbes at 16:00 Saturday, January 7th.
The feature title follows the trials of Cameron whose struggle with bipolar disorder in 1970s Boston sees him lose his job, become hospitalised and further complicate family issues. When his wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana) leaves for New York to attend university, Cameron must take care of their two daughters alone for eighteen months.
‘Infinitely Polar Bear’ is inspired by Forbes’ own experiences of growing up with a bipolar father and gives a refreshing perspective on living with mental illness. Poet Stephen James Smith of the LINGO Spoken Word Festival and J.P Swaine of First Fortnight will conduct a panel discussion following the screening.
The First Fortnight Team:
“This initiative has come out of how art can reach out to people going through mental illness. We recognise that film in particular can portray the lives of people experiencing different challenges. It’s great to have films which can give insights into the less dramatized versions of those struggles with mental illness. ‘Infinitely Polar Bear’ can gives great insight into how it affects not only the person but our families and the people around us. It shows that mental health affects us all.”
Following this is Irish director Alan Gilsenan’s ‘The Wonder Eye’ at 12:00, Saturday January 14th. In a documentary format, the title offers a quirky portrait of Ivor Browne, who has been a longstanding figure Irish mental health. It examines not only his compassion but his innovation in the field.
Both Gilsenan and Browne, now in his eighties, will attend a post screening discussion.