The Happy Film examines what happens when we follow psychologists' advice—and when we do things that scare us
Designer/filmmaker Hillman Curtis and designer Stefan Sagmeister have collaborated on a feature-length film for well over a year. However, it is unfinished and they won't be truly happy until it is complete. Money, which cannot buy said happiness, is the root of their woes, so on August 4 they had a fundraiser at the SVA Theater in New York, with a screening of the work-in-progress, which given these hard economic times is prophetically titled The Happy Film.
The Happy Film was conceived as a documentary that looks at the strategies serious psychologists recommend to improve personal well-being and overall happiness. "'Is it possible to train our mind in the same way that we train our bodies?' and 'Can we change our behavior to make us happier?' are the main themes," Curtis explained. And Sagmeister, known for issuing manifesto-like maxims as mammoth environmental typographic happenings, poses these questions through "self-experiments and explorations" that are loosely based on his 2009 book of typographic truisms, Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far. "These are the access points to a larger exploration of happiness—its cultural significance, our constant pursuit of it, and its uniquely ephemeral nature," said producer Ben Nabors.