LENGTH: 80 MIN
DIRECTOR: Thomas Balmès
COUNTRY: France / Bhutan
WEBSITE: Visit Director Website
From acclaimed French director, Thomas Balmès, this French/Bhutan documentary premiered at Sundance and won the Documentary World Cinema Cinematography Award. “Happiness” is the AAAFF’s Opening Night Gala Film with filmmaker in attendance. Balmès achieved critical acclaim for his 2010 documentary, “Babies.”
Bhutan is one of the least developed countries in the world. There is barely any industry, and electricity was not commonplace until very recently in 1999. The advent of electricity was revolutionary for the tiny mountainside villages in this Himalayan kingdom and the film delves into the world of Peyangki, a dreamy and solitary eight-year-old monk who lives in the last village to get hooked up and the idea of happiness that technology might bring. The gorgeous shots of the scenery speak more than the people in this film, in which Thomas Balmès brings his tradition of being a silent witness to cultural developments around the world.