When filmmaker and philosophy professor Bernhard Roddy made his latest film, a quasi-documentary called "Death of a Maniac," he set out to confront what he calls his "family crisis." That crisis involved Roddy's father, a manic depressive with bipolar disorder, whom Roddy says would often end up in prison and hospitals, causing a rift in the family that has never quite been repaired.
In the process of making the 15-minute film, Roddy said, his previously somewhat estranged brother came back into the picture.
"It's not a sympathetic film," Roddy said. "In a way it's brought us together a bit. The family is badly broken, so it's not like you can really make a lot of progress in a video, but that's been a nice, sort of real-world value."
Roddy will screen that film a 8 tonight in the Squeaky Wheel Media Arts Center, 712 Main St., along with several of his other works. Roddy's earlier works, going back to 1998, are 16-millimeter animations he created as teaching tools for his philosophy classes.
"All these works are fairly short," Roddy said. "I don't really try to educate so much as explore issues in an imaginary or fantastic way."
Roddy's work has screened at several film festivals, including the New York Underground Film Festival and Ann Arbor Film Festival. He said he envisions the screening at Squeaky Wheel as an artists' talk, in which he can discuss and develop ideas for new projects.
Tickets to the screening are $5 for the general public and $4 for Squeaky Wheel members. Call 884-7172 or visit www.squeaky.org for details.
-- Colin Dabkowski