Last month the documentary film, ‘Happy’, by Oscar nominated director Roko Belic, was brought to the North East for one day only at a pop-up cinema in town. The merry band of businesses behind the film’s screening included Tynemouth based Jan Etoile of Etoile Enterprises. The film was screened on World Happiness Day, February 11th at The Centre for Life.
On the same day the film was enjoyed in communities across the globe, from Sao Paulo to Singapore, as people celebrated what it means to be happy, who is happiest and how we can contribute to the happiness of others.
The film ‘Happy’ combines cutting-edge science from the new field of positive psychology with real-life stories of people from around the world whose lives illustrate these findings. In it we see the story of a beautiful woman named Melissa Moody, a mother of three who had a “perfect life” until the day she was run over by a truck. Disabled for nine years and disfigured for life, amazingly she is happier now than before her accident. Manoj Singh, a rickshaw puller from the slums of Kolkata, India lives in a hut made of plastic bags with his family but in the film he is found to be as happy as the average American.
Despite the credentials of the director, the film did not have a distribution deal through cinemas and could only be seen at special screenings like the one at The Centre for Life. It was hoped that the film would inspire viewers to join the organisers in a new movement to promote happiness in our region.
The film brings to life the findings of the most recent research into happiness and wellbeing. These findings show that good family, relationships, social bonds and a strong sense of community, rather than wealth and status, are what really make us happy. Director Roko Belic learned a lot about the nature of happiness and what is important in life while making the film. In an interview for the American newspaper, The Huffington Post, he said: “I learned something simple but completely illuminating. Research showed that just about all happy people have strong relationships. They are healthier and have happier children. They are more likely to find a creative solution to a problem and to help a stranger in need. Happy people have fewer conflicts and are less likely to commit crimes, pollute the environment or go to war. In other words, just about everything I cared about, everything I wished I could change in the world, was improved with being happy.”
by Katherine Wildman © 2012
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