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“A Summer in the Cage” with Filmmaker Ben Selkow
October 24, 2008 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT
A Summer in the Cage (2007) is a stunning portrait of a battle with manic-depressive (bipolar) disorder that puts a human face on an illness that affects millions of American families. As this dramatic story unfolds, it also becomes a unique tale about friendship and the ethical responsibilities of a documentary filmmaker. The intent was to make a film about successfully living with, and managing, a mental illness- but when the Hollywood ending proves too elusive, the filmmaker and the subject are forced to ask themselves, “When do you turn off the camera?”
This event is co-sponsored by The Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley.
“A Summer in the Cage” follows Selkow’s friend Sam for seven years as
he suffers delusional manic episodes, battles paralyzing depressions,
and tries to escape the legacy of his father. By showing the difficult
emotional impact of being bipolar on Sam, his family, and the
filmmaker, “A Summer in the Cage” hopes to put a human face on an
illness that affects millions of American families. But as this
dramatic story unfolds, it also becomes a unique tale about friendship
and the ethical responsibilities of a documentary filmmaker. The
intent was to make a film about successfully living with, and
managing, a mental illness. When the “Hollywood ending” proved too
elusive, the filmmaker and the subject are forced to ask themselves,
“When do you turn off the camera?”
“I saw this film earlier this year at a film festival,” says Sanctuary
programmer Penny Lane, “and I had never seen anything like it. The
video diaries made by Sam during his manias are some of the most raw
and powerful images I have ever encountered.” Lane was compelled to
bring the film and its maker to her community after witnessing the
dialogue the film provoked in the audience.
“Quite frankly, one of the most powerful documentaries I have seen,”
says author Peter Earley (CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s
Mental Health Madness), “I do not know of any other filmmaker who has
captured the frantic highs of mania, the devastation of depression and
roller coaster of ordinary life that a person with a diagnosis of
bipolar disorder experiences.”
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, well known professor, author and psychiatrist, highly recommended the film, calling it “powerful, affecting and honest.”
Ben Selkow is the director/producer/director of photography/writer of “A Summer in the Cage,” which premiered on the Sundance Channel in October 2007 and is being distributed for home video by Indiepix. The film was nominated for a 2008 Prism Bipolar Disorder Depiction Award.
In 2003, Ben was a participant in the annual Sundance Producer’s
Conference at the Sundance Institute in Utah.
We are committed to lowering the barriers to access for events at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. For people who are hard of hearing or deaf, blind or low-vision, or whose physical limitations can interfere with a satisfying experience, let us know two weeks in advance so we can make appropriate arrangements.