In February 2009 49 year old Midlands businessman Paul Downes hired a castle in Jamaica and invited 12 attractive young Ukranian women, some of them part time models, to join him. Paul’s extraordinary plan was to choose one of them to become his wife.
In addition to the castle, its staff, drivers, and a professional photographer, Paul also asked film-maker Mark James to come along to record events over 2 weeks for posterity.
What at first appeared to be an innocent fantasy rapidly became ever more bewildering as Paul at first invited a number of women to marry him, then all of them in an attempt to form a harem of 12. As time went on, Paul lost interest in the women and instead turned his attention to taking over the world, pacing about the castle and making proclamations like a villain from a James Bond movie as the women go about sun bathing and swimming in the background.
Paul has bi-polar disorder and his behaviour in Jamaica was caused by an acute mania that developed whilst he was there. Paul is unusual in that his manias are frequent, and extremely severe. A full-blown mania is an event that’s rarely been filmed and A Bipolar Expedition comes face to face with the extremes of his condition as events in Jamaica reach a crescendo - when even the women appear to be drawn into the bizarre fantasy world of Paul’s mind. The film goes on to explore the origins of Paul’s bipolar, the impact that manias and the depressions that follow have on his life. Ultimately the film reveals just why manic highs are so addictive and so hard to moderate.