© mindjazz pictures

The Happy Film
U.S.A./Austria/France/Indonesia/U.K. 2016

Opening 5 Jan 2017

Directed by: Hillman Curtis, Ben Nabors, Stefan Sagmeister
Writing credits:

Stefan Sagmeister is searching for happiness. He has a successful design firm in New York City that “creates identities, commercials, websites, apps, films, books and objects for clients, audiences and ourselves.” In his interactive The Happy Show exhibition which toured internationally, he presents snippets of a ten-year exploration of happiness. Around this concept, he creates this documentary film that further investigates ways to be happier: meditation, cognitive therapy, and a mood-altering drug. Under the direction of Pak Merta Ada, Sagmeister experiments with silent meditation in a location that is paradise on Earth. He meets a former student and falls in love, gets a bit bored and creates a locally-inspired graphic dance number. Then he tries Cognitive Appraisal Therapy which is presented through very intimate conversations with Dr. Sheenah Hankin. He falls in love again, for a while. For his final happy challenge, he is prescribed Lexapro for depression by Dr. Tony Campo. The agony of the initial effects of this drug, followed by pure ecstasy and another love interest are written in aching, albeit drug-induced, honesty all over Sagmeister’s face as he speaks directly to the camera about how he really feels, truly fascinating to watch and perhaps just a tad bit voyeuristic.

Sagmeister reveals in imaginative, artistic, colorful, original, and extraordinary ways his private journey along the precarious road to happiness. He uses his incredible talent to visually express his concepts along with deeply personal narratives and discussions. For a sample of his work, check out sagmeisterwalsh.com. Then see this fascinating film of his introspective adventure. Guaranteed it will make you smile. (Mary Nyiri)

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