WIXOM — Detroit Public Television said Wednesday it has received pre-production funding for the creation of “Ride The Tiger: Entrepreneurs and Bipolar Disorder,” a groundbreaking documentary that seeks to explore the dynamics of bipolar disorder in combination with success in business leadership.

Ride the Tiger will introduce viewers to high-profile entrepreneurs who have risen to the top despite — or perhaps because of — their bipolar disorder: captains of industry who occasionally hide under their desks in order to ride out their low periods unseen; executives who stockpile work during their hypomanic phases so they can retreat from the public eye when debilitated by depression; successful entrepreneurs who are often afraid to reveal the pain and darkness that lies behind their confident exterior.

In the words of Dr Sam Ozersky, a psychiatrist with the mood disorders clinic at the University Health Network in Toronto, “If you have bipolar disorder, there are times you can work with hardly any sleep. You can plan any business deal, seduce any man or woman, or spend any amount of money. If it were possible to bottle its positive aspects in a safe, controlled compound, manic depression wouldn’t be a sickness, it would be a wonder drug.”

But there is a dark side to bipolar disorder. The documentary’s working title is taken from the Chinese proverb, “He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.” In other words, how can one combine the exhilaration of the ride with the fear of crashing at any moment?

Built around the story of Heinz Prechter, a penniless German immigrant who forged a business empire in the U.S. automotive industry only to commit suicide at the height of his career, Ride the Tiger will delve into personal stories of individuals who, while appearing brilliant and successful to the public, are often secretly wrestling with a devastating emotional cost.

Ride the Tiger will spotlight cutting-edge research, concentrating not so much on a cure for bipolar disorder, but instead efforts that offer hope for keeping the brilliance often associated with bipolar disorder while simultaneously mitigating the devastating lows.

This focus on entrepreneurs and state-of-the-art international brain science set Ride the Tiger apart from other documentaries on bipolar disorder. By exposing and highlighting achievements in brain science, DPTV’s national public television broadcast and extensive outreach campaign aim to encourage and stimulate even more funding and research into the complex mysteries and potential of bipolar disorder.

During this pre-production phase, DPTV is actively seeking stories. If you are a successful business leader with bipolar disorder willing to share your story on camera in order to help others, please contact DPTV representative Kristin Fellows at kristin@kristinfellows.com or (828) 335-6525.

Also, those interested in supporting this project are also invited to contact Fellows. DPTV has secured a challenge grant, so tax-deductible financial contributions will be matched in full up to $200,000.

The film’s trailer is available on the Web at http://tinyurl.com/aquorl3.

Ultimately, the goal of this documentary is nothing short of opening and changing minds – for those dealing with bipolar disorder, as well as for the general public. DPTV wants to change the perception of bipolar disorder from the stigma of a mental illness to a recognition that everyone’s mental circuitry is a little different; to replace fear with compassion and the understanding that people dealing with the positive side of bipolar disorder may even be a resource, one part of the fascinating and brilliant drive that has helped make America what it is.

National release for Ride the Tiger is scheduled for 2014.

Detroit Public Television is the non-commercial, viewer-supported PBS-member station watched by more than 1.5 million people in Detroit and Southeast Michigan and another 1.2 million people throughout Canada. DPTV also manages WRCJ 90.9 FM, Detroit’s classical and jazz radio station, in collaboration with the license-holder, the Detroit Public Schools. The radio station is located in the Detroit School of Arts.

More at www.dptv.org.