A Summer in the Cage

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Filmmaker Ben Selkow gives a personal face to bipolar disorder with this documentary portrait of his friend Sam Murchison, a once-promising Division 1 basketball player who left behind a successful job in finance to pursue an artistic career on the very eve of his first bipolar episode. Ben and Sam's six year journey began in the summer of 2000, when ambitious film student Ben began shooting a documentary about life in and around Manhattan's West 4th Street basketball courts - affectionately known to the local athletes as "The Cage." In the process of shooting his film, Ben struck up a close friendship with local athlete Sam. But as filming continued, Sam's condition began to deteriorate. Eventually, Ben shifted the focus of his documentary from the court to his friend. Sam's father also suffered from bipolar disorder, and eventually took his own life. This is the story of a man struggling not to follow in his father's grim footsteps, and the friend who wrestles with the decision whether to keep filming, or to put down the camera and help his pal through the darkest of days.

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