Hot Docs 2017: Manic

A woman traces his family’s history with bipolar disorder back to her back leader father in Manic. Filmmaker Kalina Bertin turns the camera on her siblings Felicia and Francois, both of whom suffer from bipolar disorder and frequently have manic episodes. Desperate for answers about her family’s mental illness, Kalina traces back the history of her father George Sean Dubie, who she is shocked to find out was the leader of a cult known as The Significants, who fathered fifteen children with multiple lovers.

Manic begins being about filmmaker Kalina Bertin investigate why two of her siblings have bipolar disorder, though it turns into her finding out the dark secrets about her father. It turns about that George Sean Dubie was a charismatic cult leader, who believed he was the reincarnation of Christ and had multiple lovers, the most prominent being a woman named Margaret, to whom George fathered six children over two decades.

Manic is a documentary that probably goes into the most extreme effects mental illness can have on a person. It is revealed over the course of the film that George Sean Dubie’s beliefs as a cult leader came from the fact that he too suffered from bipolar disorder. While the story told in Manic shouldn’t be viewed as being representative of all people with mental illness, it is one interesting and unusual story.

7 / 10 stars

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).