Roko Belic has been making films about people living their dreams, including the Oscar(tm)-nominated documentary, GENGHIS BLUES. That his latest documentary, HAPPY, should be a look at the profound nature of that state of being is no surprise. When we spoke on June 30, 2011, it was at the fabled Roxie Theater in San Francisco the day before HAPPY opened there. Belic, a man with an inner serenity that comes through in both what he says and how he says it, talked about the effect the film had on him personally, the surprising science of happiness, and why surfing is more than just a joy ride on the water.
HAPPY gets to the heart of what makes us happy, and the obstacles we throw in our way of getting to that blissful state. Introducing the audience to people from around the world who have found their bliss in ways that our media-saturated consumer society doesn’t consider. From neuroscientists parsing brain function, to a centenarian in Okinawa, where old-age starts at 80 or so, to an ex-banker who found purpose in tending to the sick and dying in Mother Teresa’s mission in India, to a debutante who found love in its most profound sense after losing her conventional beauty and embracing disfigurement, our notions of what constitutes happiness, and how little it has to do with money, is presented with the good humor and sense of compassion integral to attaining as much nirvana as this plane of existence allows. Belic’s film previous work includes BEYOND THE CALL, about three ex-military men who founded Knightsbridge Mission, their private mission to spread humanitarian aid where it’s needed, despite the risk, and GENGHIS BLUES, the Oscar™-nominated story of musician Paul Pena’s dream of visiting TUVA and its throat singers.