Filmmaker Maya Forbes talks about the making of her debut film Inifintely Polar Bear. The film is based on her father, who was manic depressive. It is not easy to make a film based on your family, and yet Frobes succeeds in making a film that touches you and helps you realize how children have the capacity and intelligence to understand and deal with mental illness. Often, we tend to underestimate the emotional intelligence of children in such matters.
Forbes wrote and directed the film that stars Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana. Ruffalor plays the father’s role and is brilliant as a loving and troubled man, who learns to take care of his children. And sometimes his children take care of him when he hits those rough patches. Saldana plays the role of the mother, who decides to go back to school and get a MBA degree from Columbia University to improve her career prospects. As the breadwinner of the family, she makes the tough decision to leave her two young daughter’s in her former husband’s care, while she gets her degree.
Forbes did not want to make a heavy film on mental illness. This is a film that mixes the fun and happy times the family experiences, along with the rough patches they hit every now and then. Through the film you understand and get a better picture of what it takes for a family to come together and learn to live.
In this interview with Forbes she takes us behind the scnes and shares how and why she made Infinitely Polar Bear that takes a compassionate look at mental illness and how it impacts a family. We talked to her about the making of the film, her father, and the initial help and support she got from filmmaker JJ Abrams. We also wanted to find out what the title Infinitely Polar Bear means, and found out the answer. The film is also a family affair of sorts. Her daughter acts in the film, her husband helped produce the film, her mother helped with sharing stories about their father and her sister China Forbes of Pink Maritini created a track for the film.
Infiniitely Polar Bear releasesd on June 26, 2014 in San Francisco bay area.
A longer version of this interiew was aired on TV in San Francisco bay area and in Cambridge, MA.