Guest Post: Interview with Producers of Spiral- Bipolar Documentary

Who are you?

Randall: I’m Randall Scott White, I was married to a wonderful woman named Michelle who fell ill over time from bipolar disorder that went undiagnosed until it was too late. 

Jennifer: I’m Jennifer Hutchins, the producer. I met Randall in Austin in late 2019 and he showed me over a decade of home video footage that didn’t just tell a story but showed a story of a loving wife and mother who was transformed into a destructive violent stranger. 

What Is This Documentary About?

Randall: S P I R A L is a real look at family life with mental illness if gone undiagnosed and treated. The stresses from how mania impacts normal life as destructive paths are being forged while bipolar rage goes unchecked… trying to figure out what the hell is going on since Michelle went so long without receiving help for herself. It is a real, raw look at real life with a real debilitating disease that impacts the whole family. It’s a love story, in the end.

.Jennifer: We hope this film will shine a light on undiagnosed mental illness.

Why should people want to see it?

Randall: I made my first pass at the film as a way to deal with the fallout and personal trauma imprinted into me from the entire experience. It has turned into what I think is a well presented story that moves people emotionally. I watch a lot of documentaries and I can tell you Bill Guttentag (Two time Academy Award Winning Director) did an amazing job with it, he really took the story and improved the telling of it from two sides, both hers and mine. The entire film team did. It will hopefully make people laugh, cry, and begin important conversations at home.

Jennifer: I’ve produced hundreds of episodes of docu-series for nearly two decades and never have I seen footage so raw, authentic and emotional. 

What do you want parents to take away from this film?

Randall: I know it is a fragile subject, and many kids are impacted by a continuous cycle of mental illness in families. My hope is that the movie can act as a wake up call to families on the brink, to get the help they need before tragedy strikes, whether that is therapy, addiction counseling, medication… whatever it takes to stabilize and keep the kids safe as they develop into adults themselves.

Jennifer: The subject is near and dear to my heart with a Detroit based social worker mother who told us daily stories of families torn apart by my mental illness. If even one family is inspired to take action and get help, than that is a step in the right direction. 

Why did you Crowdfund with Kickstarter?

Randall: There is momentum out there, and crowdfunding lets you test whether there is support for your cause. We just funded for the campaign, and while it’s not been easy the film is in post-production and we are determined to get it released.

Jennifer: We found an additional large audience through Kickstarter and will continue to communicate the film updates with them. We still have some amazing rewards available through the Kickstarter campaign; Wall of Wellness, Early copy of the film, name in the credits, VIP tickets to the Austin Premiere, A Zoom with the filmmakers and our actress Michelle Trachtenberg.

What do you hope to achieve with the film?

Randall: I want to help people. That’s it. I am opening up a huge window of privacy and some pretty embarrassing stuff to show people the intensity of how mental illness can drag you along for a wild, dangerous ride. I think it’s important, not because I’m in the film, but because Michelle’s side of the story is spoken and shown by herself. It, in my mind, is one of the most revealing films about living with bipolar disorder that has been made, and it’s all true footage.

Jennifer: We are hoping to share this with as many eyeballs as possible and have one of the top 5 Hollywood agencies working on sales. The more people who see this, the more potential to make a difference. 

Spiral- A Bipolar Documentary




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