Get Happy - The Film (USA, 1 hour 40 minutes)
Directed by: Manoj Annadurai
Written by: Tom Shipley
Cast: Chris Riggi, Adam LaVorgna, Rebecca Blumhagen, Jordan Lane Price, Lauren Sweetser, Robert Sean Miller, Samantha Eggers, Moore Theobald, Peter O'Leary, Colin Branca, Laine Rettner, Ruth Barrie, Rebecca Kush, Robert Sciglimpaglia, Charlie Le Grice, James Koroni, J. Dixon Byrne and Breanna Lakatos
Get Happy tells the story of Charlie Kane, a perpetually miserable man who finally finds happiness when he starts dating Holly, an incessantly optimistic girl who teaches him to look on the bright side life. When their relationship ends, Charlie falls into an even deeper despair. Fed up with his wretched existence, he decides to just get happy, as Holly taught him. His new positivity brings success and fulfillment, much to the dismay of Bobby, his cynical best friend who doesn’t buy into this new found happiness. With the help of a dour barista, Bobby embarks on a mission to wipe the smile off Charlie’s face and bring him back to reality.
Interview:An interview with Sania Jhankar, producer of Get Happy, with Julie Evensen.
Q – Why should we go see Get Happy!?
Sania: The film´s dealing with a very universal subject: How to get Happy? The subject is so easy for people to identify with. Everybody, at the end of the day, is looking for something that they think will lead to happiness, right?
It is not a self help on how to be happy but more about exploring the idea of happiness. The feedback that we got from screening the film at other film festivals is that the film is refreshing and different.
Q - Why is it different from other indie films?
Sania: It's very common to have film festivals with a lot of indie films that have a heavy subject matter, that are very artistic in style and treatment. It's uncommon to see romantic comedies in independent film festivals. So audience members from previous festivals have told us that it's a breather to have Get Happy! at a festival. It's a light feel good romantic comedy. While it's commercial in its style and genre, it is artistic in the idea behind it. Happiness is in fact a serious subject, that we deal with in a light way.
I think the comedy genre is a great way to explore and play around with, when dealing with a meaning subject matter.
Q - How was the process of making the film?
It was fun, but cold! The entire film was shot in 18 days during last winter and mostly outdoors. We were all freezing! But as any diligent indie team, our cast and crew powered through. I am so grateful!
We shot all over New York City: in cafes in Brooklyn, a few apartments in Manhattan and we had to recreate offices, apartments as well as in art theaters. We basically exploited a lot of aspects about New York City.
The only thing I love more than New York City, is filming in New York City!
Q – Your background?
I moved to New York from India in 2006 to go to the Tisch School of the Arts (Film/TV) at NYU and I've been in the city ever since. After graduation, I decided to jump right into it and direct my first feature film, Butterflies of Bill Baker.
I now have my own production company, LuminouStudios, with fellow producers Reema Dutt and Roni Mazumdar. We work on a bunch of feature films and commercials.
Most of our cast and crew are from NYC. So I am thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase Get Happy! at the NYC Indie Film Festival.
Q – About being a independent filmmaker.
Well, my advice would be: don´t get into it unless you have no choice. (Sania smiles). Filmmaking, and especially feature filmmaking, is a very tough field. You have to find a project that you are so passionate about that no matter what happens, you have to stick with it for years. Traditional distribution is hard to come by and making money on most indie films is even harder. So do it, only if you simply can't "get happy" without making movies.
Having said that, (boy!) does it feel amazing when you see your film on a big screen! The best thing about indie filmmaking is that as a filmmaker you have a lot of creative liberty to create whatever you like, however you like. It's exhilarating to create something that is completely yours. There is nothing like it!