Bipolar Bear is Christopher Banks – a filmmaker, journalist and musician with experience of bipolar disorder.
He’s also a bear, hence the title of the blog, which publishes five times weekly from February through November and chronicles his personal experience of living with a mental illness.
A film-maker, journalist and songwriter, his first film was the camp feature-length comedy ‘Quiet Night In’. His next three films were the multiple award-winning gay shorts ‘Teddy’, ‘Communication’, and ‘The Colonel’s Outing’, the latter of which told the story of two World War II veterans who find love in a rest home under the eye of an interfering Matron.
In the late 1990s, Banks wrote and produced a string of top 40 hits in New Zealand, including three consecutive number ones for a pop group which he founded, ‘Deep Obsession’. It was the first time a local group had ever achieved such a feat, and the subsequent album was certified platinum and went on to be released internationally.
He started writing for gay media in 2003 as the senior writer for New Zealand’s leading gay news and entertainment website GayNZ.com, was an occasional contributor to London’s Gay Times magazine, and wrote, directed and presented stories for the award-winning TV2 show ‘Queer Nation’. He now writes regularly for New Zealand’s national gay newspaper Express, US website The Good Men Project and Canadian website PositiveLite.
In 2012, he released the critically-acclaimed documentary ‘Men Like Us’, a revealing window into the lives of nine New Zealand gay men aged 21 through 78. It was described as “riveting…clear-eyed and articulate” by the New Zealand Herald and “an unflinching look at gay life in New Zealand” by Express.
His current project is another feature-length documentary, ‘The Bigger We Are’, a confronting, humourous and emotional journey involving weight loss surgery, the rise of the muscle bear, big boys who want to be smaller and skinny guys who want to be big.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Banks now lives in Melbourne, Australia. He is very fond of Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, the boardgame Cluedo, and the classic British sitcom ‘Are You Being Served?’.