Emmanuel is a motivational speaker, award-winning illustrator and blogger from Toronto. For many years, he suffered with severe depression.
“In 2000, I felt depressed, withdrawn, and burnt out,” he says. “And, just before Christmas that year, my father suddenly passed away as well as my grandfather.”
These events triggered a dark period in his life that persisted for many years.
He experienced low points of self-esteem as well as a loss of purpose. Some days he could not even get up, because his limbs felt as though they were made of lead.
One day, while he was lying on the couch, the movie “Groundhog Day” came on the television. There was a scene where the lead character, played by Bill Murray, was lying hopelessly in bed.
“I connected to this fictional character who was trying to break out of his loop.”
This was the moment where he connected the power of cinema to helping his condition and transforming his mind.
In 2015, following years of depressive, and sometimes suicidal feelings, Emmanuel was formally diagnosed with clinical depression. He was referred to a 15-week group therapy course called, cognitive behavioural therapy at the Centre For Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.
Along with finally receiving the proper treatment, he also credits movies for saving his life.
He created the brand, Motivatorman, where he writes a weekly movie blog and offers other resources for managing depression. He has been featured in The Washington Post, and New York Times on the ways that cinema can be used to heal.
He is also an acclaimed speaker to corporations, associations and government groups on ways that they can use movies to develop a leadership mindset and promote teamwork.
“I want people to know that they are not alone and there is always an answer, even if you can’t see it right now,” he says. “You can develop an indestructible optimism, and you can do it through Hollywood movies.”
Like the characters that inspire him on the screen, perhaps the story of Emmanuel and his journey will also be made into a Hollywood movie, one day.