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Paul Sharits (1943-1993), Code: Shooting "Declarative Mode"; Written notes on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 inches; Gift of Christopher and Cheri Sharits, 2006

Paul Sharits (1943-1993), Code: Shooting "Declarative Mode"; Written notes on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 inches; Gift of Christopher and Cheri Sharits, 2006

Lecture / Discussion  |  Bi-Polar Disorder and Experimental Filmmaking

presented by Chris Sharits

Sunday, April 1, 2012, 2–4 pm

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium  

Chris Sharits will screen films by his father, Paul Sharits, and discuss the films in relation to his family's battle with Bi-Polar Disorder. The three films are Brancusi's Sculpture Ensemble At Tirgu Jiu (1984), Declarative Mode (1977), and Piece Mandala/End War (1966).

Christopher Sharits is the only child of Paul Jeffrey Sharits 1943-93 and Frances Trujillo Niekerk. When his parents divorced in the late 1960s, he moved with his mother, Frances, to their hometown of Denver, Colorado. He remained in weekly contact with his father and frequently visited Buffalo. He married in 1984 and moved to San Francisco where he built his family. In 1993, with the passing of his father, he and his family relocated to Buffalo.

In 1998 he graduated from Buffalo State, Summa Cum Laude. He then headed to The University of Denver’s School of Law. Once there, he switched to their Graduate School of International Relations as a Dorothy Danforth Fellow. In addition to his graduate studies at Denver, Christopher also holds a Master’s in Education/Instructional Design from the American Intercontinental University.

Christopher, formally an award-winning sales executive, is now joyfully a freelance writer, novelist, blogger, painter, photographer, stay-at-home dad, family taxi driver, accountant, cook, and an "out of the closet” bipolar. In addition, he maintains and manages Paul’s busy and fruitful posthumous art and film career as the executor of the estate.

He and his wife, Cheri, of 27 years, have built a small family of extremely talented artists. Gregory Paul, 22, is a professional conceptual illustrator for several gaming companies. Jeffrey Patrick, 21, sculpts and carves with hardwoods and ceramics in addition to enjoying all that Colorado has to offer outdoors with his now door-less Jeep. Christopher’s youngest son, Robert Christopher, 15, plays bass in the band Saint MO and will begin playing the stand-up bass with his school’s orchestra next year.

Chris’s post-parental divorce relationship with his father, Paul, remained strong, to the point of conversing or visiting every week. Over the course of the last 12 years while Paul was alive, he formed a special philosophical and intellectual relationship with Christopher’s brilliant and beautiful wife, Cheri.

While clearly evident, the extent of Christopher’s Bi-Polar Disorder wasn’t formally examined until 2001. As a highly functional Bipolar II patient, he is able to carry on and succeed with many projects while occasionally suffering from panic attacks, bipolar lows, psychosis, and hypo-manic attacks that can last a days, weeks, or months. As far as he knows he has lost five close relatives to bipolar-driven suicides.