PAUL DALIO is a writer, director and composer whose first film, Touched With Fire, about two poets with bipolar disorder who meet in a psychiatric hospital and fall in love, was inspired by his experience of living with bipolar disorder.
Starring Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby and Christine Lahti, the film premiered at South by Southwest film festival in 2015 and was released theatrically in February 2016. Produced by Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks and distributed by Roadside Attractions, the film has received a 92% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Paul studied screenwriting at New York University Tisch School of the Arts at age 20. After graduating in 2004, he had his first psychotic episode while working for a film producer in Los Angeles. After two years in and out of hospitals, he was accepted into New York University’s graduate filmmaking program but had to leave during orientation week after he suffered another psychotic episode.
To cope with his depression, he worked in construction and reapplied to NYU in 2007, where he met his wife and collaborator, Kristina Nikolova, and professor Spike Lee, who became a mentor and executive produced his feature debut.
Paul wrote, directed, scored and co-edited Touched With Fire, which was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, where it was described as “an extraordinarily sensitive and nonjudgmental exploration of bipolar disorder and creativity.”
In 2016, the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recognized the film at its annual Voice Awards. That same year, Paul also received the International Bipolar Foundation’s IMAGINE award. Paul currently lives in New York with his wife and two children and is working on their next two films.