Former Summerside resident makes documentary about bipolar disorder

Ancelene MacKinnon
Published on January 4, 2016

Filmmaker Kevin Bryce from Summerside is having a free screening of his documentary on bipolar disorder, All These Flowers, at Center 150 on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.

©Ancelene MacKinnon/ Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE - 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.

“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.”

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