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How Happy Can You Be?
Directed by Line Hatland
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What are the factors that make a person happy? Does being happy actually improve our life? Can scientists measure one's degree of happiness? Is there an identifiable psychological profile for a happy person? Is it possible to arrange our lives to be as happy as possible? And how, exactly, does one define happiness?

In HOW HAPPY CAN YOU BE?, filmmaker Line Hatland, who admits to not being as happy as she'd like to be, seeks answers to these questions by interviewing and showing the work of some of the world's leading researchers on happiness, or "objective well being," including psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and neuroscientists. Among many other things, we learn the three main factors contributing to happiness, including life circumstances, intentional activity (what one chooses to do), and one's genetic makeup.

film still

Filmed throughout the world—including the U.S., Greenland, Europe, and Asia—HOW HAPPY CAN YOU BE? combines the interviews with these leading figures in the positive psychology field with archival footage, scientific experiments, impressive (if not always credible) statistical data from the World Database of Happiness, questionnaires submitted during anthropological field trips, the filmmaker's family history and her bemused reflections on what she learns about the keys to happiness.

Although it may not add up to a scientific guide to happiness, which is the unspoken but primary life goal for most people, HOW HAPPY CAN YOU BE? examines many factors that determine the extent of satisfaction with one's life, and their implications for one's personal well being and social relationships.

"A summary of happiness research, nicely visualized with a good sense of humour… a good start for a discussion about happiness as such."—Jan Ott, Journal of Happiness Studies

"An entertaining journey into the personality trait-or is it a state-of happiness."—Science Books & Films

"Blends, with humor and intelligence, the personal impressions of the filmmaker, who questions her own inability to be happy, with very knowledgeable research results."—Pelerin Magazine

"A lucid, surprising, and, above all, encouraging survey!"—Famille Chrétienne

"Although declaring her own inability to be happy, the director reels off a series of precepts which are both funny and sensible."—Le Monde

"Amusing… an engaging guide to happiness research… While the tone of the film is light, the questions raised are thoughtful ones that bear further discussion. Recommended."—Educational Media Reviews Online

2006 Eurodok, European Documentary Film Festival
2005 Uppsala International Short Film Festival

52 minutes / Color
/ English subtitles
Release: 2006
Copyright: 2005

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Anthropology, Behavioral Science, Biology, Cultural Studies, Health Issues, Life Science, Neuroscience & Neurology, Psychiatry, Psychology, Science, Sociology

Related Links:
World Database of Happiness

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