FEBRUARY 11, 2016
The New York premiere of Roadside Attractions’ “Touched With Fire” was held at the Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center on Wednesday night, with an after-party across the street at the Lincoln Ristorante. The film is a drama about two poets, Carla (Katie Holmes) and Marco (Luke Kirby), struggling with bipolar disorder and the painful truth that their romantic relationship fuels their mania. The director, first-time filmmaker Paul Dalio, told Variety that the subject was important to him because it was based on his own experience dealing with mental illness.
“Touched With Fire” is based on the filmmaker’s “feeling of being misunderstood for a long time, and the rebirth of fully showing the world what this thing really is. It was cathartic,” Dalio said, adding that before he got healthy, he had been through a period of hospitalization and suicidal depression and “the shame of being a freak and not knowing who you are anymore — and then, romanticizing your difference. The heaven and hell we all go through.”
Dalio was a student at NYU’s film program, and his professor Spike Lee took an interest in his work, and eventually agreed to produce his film. “He gets behind projects he believes in. When it was time for me to graduate, I showed him a commercial script I had written, and he advised against doing it,” Dalio said, “and this script, my wife really liked it, and she made a point that I had already come out of that stuff, and by wallowing down in there it wouldn’t help anyone, and if I wrote a story with real reflection, it could help people. You listen to the wife.”