Maya Forbes on the personal story behind Infinitely Polar Bear

Filmmaker Maya Forbes shares what it was like to grow up with a bipolar father, and why she's revisiting her past through fiction.
Maya Forbes says her mother knew how volatile her dad was, but she also knew how much he loved us. Her family's challenges inspired her touching debut film, Infinitely Polar Bear. (Mongrel Media)

Did you grow up wondering if your family was normal? Did you keep secrets about the things you saw at home? 

Maya Forbes is intimately familiar with the inner workings of a complicated situation. Having watched her father struggle with bipolar disorder, Forbes knows how mental illness can affect a whole family.

Now the filmmaker has channeled her memories into Infinitely Polar Bear, a bittersweet feature drama starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana. Like her dad, Ruffalo struggles with his condition while trying to raise two strong-willed daughters.

Forbes joins guest host Talia Schlanger to share her reasons for opening up through fiction, and how it feels to watch her own daughter play a character based on herself. 

Writer/Director Maya Forbes (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

WEB EXTRA | Watch two clips from Infinitely Polar Bear below.