FILM REVIEW: The Happy Film – International Premiere HotDocs 2016 (in progress)

Last updated: TUES May 10 2016 9:20 PM

By Glenda MacDonald

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****REVIEW IN PROGRESS**** I found this film so fascinating that I’m doing additional research to provide useful external links. This is an enhanced-content review which I’ll expand as I ponder the ideas which were presented. You can watch me write it, and I’ll tweet the link when done! I’m giving The Happy Film a ‘full bouquet” rating.

(USA) International Premiere (92 minutes)

The Happy Film at Hot Docs 2016

Co-Directors Stefan Sagmeister and Ben Nabors address questions from the audience at #TheHappyFilm Canadian premiere.  Emceed by Gabor Pertic of #HotDocs2016

FILM FESTIVAL: Hot Docs Film Festival, Toronto ON. North America’s largest documentary festival, conference, and market. April 28 to May 8 2016.  #HotDocs16
GM Note: I attended Monday May 2 10 AM showing at TIFF Bell Lightbox

SYNOPSIS: The Happy Film. Art project meets self-improvement quest as graphic designer guru Stefan Sagmeister drives to shape himself into a happier, more fulfilled person through a dedicated mix of meditation, therapy, and drugs.( Festival program.)

Co-Directors of The Happy Film at #HotDocs2016 Premiere Toronto Stefan Sagmeister and Ben Nabors

Meeting Co-Directors of The Happy Film at #HotDocs2016 Premiere Toronto:  Stefan Sagmeister and Ben Nabors for further happy chats.

CO-DIRECTORS: I met with Co-directors Stefan Sagmeister and Ben Nabors after the film. Third former co-director was Hillman Curtis.

Imagine yourself on a motorcycle on an open road. Your MP3 player is streaming your favourite music as you meander, relaxed, without specific intent or purpose through towns and beautiful countryside. In such a moment Stefan Sagmeister was able to ‘manufacture’ a high degree of happiness.

This is the story of a road trip for the mind and the metrics of happiness. The first stop along the way explores meditation. The second leg of the journey is a deep-dive into therapy. And finally there is (in Stefan’s case) a hallucinogenic trip as well as formal medical intervention with a commonly prescribed antidepressant used to treat depression and anxiety.

…more thoughts to follow…


Night Owl & Early Bird; Digital Spring Cleaning

Last updated: SAT April 23 2016 1:31 PM Toronto ON Canada
By: Glenda MacDonald

Wednesday March 23 2016  

Featured photo: “Hardy Little Snowdrop”. This pretty little snow drop flower popped up in my front garden about a month ago while the snow was still here, before the crocuses woke up.
Weather report: The forecast is for freezing rain and ice pellets.

Snow drops - you hardy little flower!

Snow drops – you hardy little flower!

Night Owl & Early Bird

I’ve been up since 5 a.m. but I’ve been awake since 3:30.  I went to bed around midnight but woke up a few hours later with my brain brimming with ideas. I forced myself to try to go back to sleep but my heart wasn’t in it. I dutifully lay there, still, trying not to awaken my snoring husband. Two hours of mind-numbing debates ensued between me and my bird brains. Night Owl kept pecking at my skull “logically, you know you need sleep!” while Early Bird nipped at my toes, urging me to get out of bed – “the early bird catches the worm!” Finally I thought, “enough is enough!”. I slunk quietly down to the kitchen with my laptop and made my first cup of coffee. I continued researching a story I’m itching to write while the neighbourhood slowly reawakened.

Since I decided to go freelance after a long traditional career this scene has been playing out almost nightly. I’m excited to be finally embracing my inner writer and artist and pursuing my creative goals while I’m aware that I need to also take care of my health. I’ve had a little chat with my internal feathered friends and told them that we are all just going to have to get along. So I sometimes take a little afternoon nap. Night owl, meet early bird. Talk amongst yourselves. I’ve got work to do!

Spring Cleaning the Digital Cobwebs

I’m slow to start my blog today. This is partly due to technical difficulties with my IT department. Did I mention I’m a home-based solopreneur? I am my IT department! My internet’s been spotty. My WordPress/BlueHost front and back ends were having a snit fit and wouldn’t talk to each other. I had to intervene and now they’re playing nice again but their little spat put me quite behind in getting my blog updated. I also hadn’t done a complete MacBookPro backup in almost a week and decided to run my Time Machine right while I was in the middle of my Sophos Antivirus scan. And that’s just the software and network end. While I’m thinking about my needed spring house cleaning I know I also need to address the digital detritus in my office. I’ve got old computers and peripherals, and external hard drives etc. both PC and Mac format. I’ve got an iPad and an iPod Touch that  I’m not using much right now as I’m always on my laptop but need to update the iOS for because there are some apps I need to test on the iPad. Same goes for my HTCOne smart phone. It’s so full of photos that I can’t add new apps, and I have a product to test that works with Android OS. My laptop is on OSX Mountain Lion and I’m debating about upgrading to El Capitan but I don’t want to make time for the downtime. Because I’ve got work to do!