The Happy Film

Synopsis: Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister is doing well. He lives in New York, the city of his dreams, and he has success in his work, designing album covers for the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z and the Talking Heads. But in the back of his mind he suspects there must be something more. He decides to turn himself into a design project. Can he redesign his personality to become a better person? Is it possible to train his mind to get happier? He pursues 3 controlled experiments of meditation, therapy, and drugs, grading himself along the way. But real life creeps in and confounds the process: art, sex, love, and death prove impossible to disentangle. His unique designs and painfully personal experiences mark a journey that travels closer to himself than ever intended.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Hillman Curtis (co-director), Ben Nabors (co-director), Stefan Sagmeister (co-director)
  2 nominations.
93 min

- So, these are getting

Blown up a little bit tighter

Than my comfort level

is really into.

- Now that all the big

balloons are inflated,

We're moving into the

small party balloons now

To make chains.

- and

everyone's gonna focus on that.

So this team's working now.

- We fixed it.

We fixed the problem.

We're gonna get liftoff.

- Okay, you're good.

Yeah, we're gonna go out

with three at a time.

it's like the biggest game

of operation and...

- I have no idea

how to start this film.

But I actually do have

The end all figured out.

I'm going to attach 6,000

yellow balloons to myself.

And then I'm gonna take

off against the blue sky.

The yellow contrasting brightly,

And that's just gonna be it.

Jubilation music, probably

Something sigur ros like.

That's actually my

girlfriend veza up there.

I, myself, turned out to be

Too fat for takeoff,

Or, like I prefer to believe,

The balloon gas contracted

In the freezing cold

And threw all of our

Math into disarray.

- Get everybody else back.

- okay,

I need everybody out...

Are you okay, veza?

- I love it.

- okay, one more time.

- well, this is

actually what really happened.

Me not flying in the blue sky

Makes a little bit

more sense after all.

- it would be great

if you could

Go more for height.

You're not jumping

particularly high.

You're just kind of

moving horizontally.

- we need to take

this position again.

- It's like, how can

we not get this shot

With someone in the air?

- stefan's gonna

come out of the rig.

- no.

- okay,

I'm the director here,

I'm gonna make a decision.

- one thing

is that harness

Isn't built professionally.

It is not meant for that.

- well then

I go in this one.

And it's going to be dark

by the time we get him off.

Hang on, hang on, hang on,

Exactly what you

shouldn't be doing

Under the pressure, under

the time constraints,

And the sunset.

You should definitely

not be trying to rig

Someone else into the harness.

- this is

a film about me

Trying to make myself happier.

- this is exactly the

sh*t that I'm talking about.

a number of years earlier,

I was on sabbatical in bali.

My best friend visited

from new york,

And was checking how I

was spending my time.

I was pretty much

making furniture,

And he looked at

all of it and said,

that's good enough

But somehow,

if you come back after a year

With these couple of

chairs and these ideas,

I'm not quite sure if

that's all that worthwhile.

Well, this is really

when the whole idea

For the happy film came up.

I had given a talk on design

and happiness many times,

And I'd always received

really good feedback and

It just seemed like a juicy

Design problem itself,

to make a proper

Project out of it.

And it would force me to

Research the subject properly.

After talking to many

psychologists, I wrote a script.

And I made a list and a plan.

I love making a plan.

It got big.

Anything, fitted in there.

It turned out that making

a film about happiness

Was somehow like

making a film about life.

Too big, just impossible.

I narrowed it down to

My own happiness instead.

After all, on my own happiness,

I really am the world's

number one expert.

The big question really is

Can I train my mind

in the same way

That I can train my body?

And by far, the best book I read

Was this one by jonathan haidt.

So I called him up

And he agreed

to be the scientific

Adviser for this film.

- So, there are three really

Well validated techniques

For changing

your habitual thinking.

The first technique

is meditation.

You concentrate

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Sai Prasad

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Happy Film" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 29 Nov. 2022. <>.

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