‘Happy’ examines positive living

May. 27, 2011 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition

Filmmakers Roko and Adrian Belic's latest work examines the science of happiness. —Courtesy Iris Films

If director Roko Belic had his way, those who see his latest film, “Happy,” would pair it with “I Am,” a documentary by Hollywood director Tom Shadyac (“I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”).

Both films share a common theme, exploring the relationship of happiness to personal health and well-being. As it happens, Shadyac helped finance “Happy” after seeing Belic’s rough cut of a documentary on Indian holy men, about five years ago. At the time, Shadyac, a successful Hollywood director, was re-evaluating his own life after a near-fatal cycling accident; his journey of self-discovery resulted in “I Am.”

“HAPPY”

Where: The Venue, 1146 Bethel St.

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Cost: $10

Info: 223-0130

Belic’s films have long explored journeys of discovery. He and brother Adrian, the cinematographer and associate producer of “Happy,” were the filmmakers behind 1999’s Oscar-nominated and Sundance Film Festival Audience Award-winning “Genghis Blues.” (The brothers visited Honolulu to screen “Genghis Blues.”)

Roko Belic said “Happy” “looks at the new science of positive psychology,” using examples from societies worldwide, from a poor rickshaw driver in Kolkata, India, to the elderly of an Okinawan village.

“Happy” also includes information about the latest research on happiness.

“What I didn’t realize is how much making this film would affect my own life,” Belic said.

“When it was almost finished, I spoke to Ed Diener, who is the father of positive psychology, and he told me that a person’s close and meaningful relationships are the best indicators of happiness. And (neuroscientist) Richard Davidson, he noticed through using brain magnetic resonance that the impact of physical, aerobic exercise was so significant in determining how happy one is.

“Because of all this, I moved to a different city to be closer to my friends, as well as closer to the beach after 12 years of not surfing on a regular basis,” he said.

—Gary Chun / gchun@staradvertiser.com

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