GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS
23-25 June 2020
Cannes Docs Co-Pro Speed Meetings
Project curated by:
Original title: Gyalyong Gaki Pelzom
Directed by: Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó
Produced by: Arun Bhattarai (Sound Pictures, Bhutan), Noémi Veronika Szakonyi (Match Frame Productions, Hungary)
Country of production: Bhutan
Expected release: September 2022
Budget: €238,200 (5% in place)
1st/2nd feature?: 2nd feature
Looking for: Development and production funding, co-producers, pre-buyers
Amar and Gunaraj are working as Happiness Agents who travel door-to-door through the remote Himalayan mountains measuring people’s levels of happiness. Gross National Happiness is a satirical ‘road movie’ that takes us through a mosaic of stories exploring the desires of a society with a specific national identity created by the Happiness Ministry of Bhutan, a country that has been closed-off for centuries.
Arun Bhattarai premiered his first feature-length documentary The Next Guardian at IDFA in the First Appearance Competition in 2017. Since then it has screened at more than 40 international festivals (True/False, Ambulante, San Francisco IDFF, MoMA DocFortnight, Camerimage, Docs Against Gravity etc.) and has had theatrical and television releases world wide. His recent documentary, Kelden was screened in NHK World and KBS Korea. Before becoming an independent filmmaker, he worked as a TV director at the Bhutan Broadcasting Service for 6 years. He graduated from the first edition of DocNomads Master in documentary directing for which he was awarded a full Erasmus Mundus scholarship in 2014. Currently he is also directing a short documentary Mountain Man, about Bhutan’s first glaciologist. The project won the Best Pitch Prize at If/Then Global Short Pitch at IDFA 2019.
Dorottya Zurbó premiered her first feature documentary The Next Guardian at IDFA in the First Appearance Competition in 2017. Since then it has been screened at more than 40 international festivals (True/False, San Francisco IDFF, MoMA DocFortnight etc.) had theatrical releases and broadcasted around the world. Parallelly she worked on her first directorial debut Easy Lessons, a feature documentary premiered at the Locarno Film Festival Critics’s Week section in 2018 and participated in more than 40 international festivals (Sarajevo IFF, HotDocs, Thessaloniki IDF etc.) receiving awards such as the Hungarian Critics Award for Best Documentary. She graduated from the first edition of DocNomads Joint Master in documentary directing. She was part of Sarajevo Talent Campus 2015. She was awarded with a scholarship for young emerging artists from the Hungarian Academy of Arts (2015).