HAPPY VALLEY

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First show: December 05

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“Thorough, thoughtful and heartbreaking.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Filmed over the course of the year after Jerry Sandusky’s arrest as key players in the Penn State scandal agree to share their stories, HAPPY VALLEY deconstructs the story we think we know to uncover a much more complicated and tragic tale. 

 198x137HappyValley-1Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary HAPPY VALLEY takes an unflinching look at an iconic American institution in the wake of unthinkable scandal. Nestled in the idyllic area known as Happy Valley lies the town of State College, home of Penn State University. For over 40 years, Joe Paterno was the celebrated head coach of the school’s storied football team. Lauded not only for his program’s success on the field, but also for students’ achievements in the classroom, Paterno was a revered figure in a town where team loyalty approached nationalistic fervor. Then in November 2011, everything changed when longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, setting off a firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children of Happy Valley. Director Bar-Lev creates an indelible portrait of a wounded community and an engrossing investigation into the role big time football played in both the crimes and their aftermath.

 198x137HappyValley-4HAPPY VALLEY made its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in January and has since screened at the 2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, AFI Docs, Hot Docs and the Sarasota Film Festival where it won the documentary feature award.

 

198x137HappyValley-5About the Director Amir Bar-Lev

Amir Bar-Lev’s directorial debut FIGHTER was named one of the top documentaries of the year by Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The Village Voice and won six international festival awards. Sony Pictures Classics released his second film, MY KID COULD PAINT THAT, internationally in 2007, with broadcasts on Starz, A&E and BBC. Bar-Lev traveled to New Orleans nine days after Hurricane Katrina and began filming a young married couple, both crack dealers, with a heroic story of survival during the storm and an uncertain future ahead. Bar-Lev served as co-producer on the resulting film, TROUBLE THE WATER, which was a 2009 Academy Award Nominee. TROUBLE THE WATER also took the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the Grand Jury Award at Full Frame, a Special Jury Mention at Silverdocs, the IFP Gotham Award for Best Documentary, and was nominated for the PGA Documentary award, and the NAACP Image Awards Best Documentary. Bar-Lev also directed THE TILLMAN STORY, a feature documentary about NFL safety Pat Tillman, who joined the Army Rangers in 2002 and was killed in a friendly fire incident two years later. THE TILLMAN STORY was named the top documentary of 2010 by The San Francisco Critics’ Circle, The Florida Critics’ Circle, and The St. Louis Critics’ Circle, and was nominated for ten additional critics’ circle prizes, the National Board of Review Documentary award, the PGA Documentary award, and the Cinema Eye Audience Choice award.

198x137HappyValley-3_Bar-Lev has directed two music documentaries: The Re:Generation Music Project, featuring collaborations by artists such as Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Scrillex, and Mark Ronson, among others, and 12.12.12, a concert film starring The Who, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Bruce Springsteen, among many others. He is beginning work on a documentary about The Grateful Dead. Amir Bar-Lev was born and raised in Berkeley, California graduating from Berkeley High. 

 98min. 2014, U.S.A.

 

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