Filmmaker Kalina Bertin Talks About Her Intimate Doc ‘Manic’

Kalina Bertin graduated from film school in 2013 and then, her sister had what she called her first “psychotic episode.” Her father, who had suffered a lifetime of mental illness, exuded behaviours that two of her four siblings began to show. And Bertin saw a link. So she set out to try and decipher her family’s tangled and complicated history, and “Manic” was the result, her very first feature film.

Manic will be shown at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival (which runs from April 27th to May 7th). Here is what Bertin told Crave readers about the intriguing flick.

CraveOnline: Can you tell is about this project and how it came about?

Kalina Bertin: It was a long time coming. My father was mysterious inside and out, and my mother ran away from him when I was a child, and there was this veil of secrecy concerning my father’s life. I later found out that he was a cult leader in the 1970s and suffered with mental illness, and he never sought treatment.

Then my siblings started to experience symptoms of mental illness and it reminded me of my father’s behaviour, so I began discovering more.

Where is your father now?

You’ll have to watch the film. I don’t want to give too much away because that is a big part of the film.

What did it do for you personally to make this film?

Making the film really was a discovery process. And it was cathartic to make this film, like my therapy.


It helped me to understand the vicious cycle of mental illness, and I am hoping that people will be more understanding and more compassionate when it comes to mental illness. And I hope that those who are suffering from mental illness will seek treatment.

Manic will premiere at Hot Docs on April 30th at Scotiabank Theatre. Visit the Hot Docs website for more info and tickets.


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