What Makes the Director of “Happy” Happy? Four Questions For Roko Belic

Roko Belic was nominated for an Academy Award for directing the documentary Genghis Blues. His latest directorial effort, HAPPY, explores what makes people happy, combining science from the new field of Positive Psychology with real-life stories of people from different backgrounds around the world. HAPPY is available for purchase through iTunes or on DVD.
1. What tends to make you happy?

All kinds of things make me happy: being with my friends, seeing my baby and my partner smile, surfing waves taller than me, meeting cool people, trying new things, feeling competent, playing with my dogs, dancing to great music, being inspired…

2. Think of a frustrating setback that occurred while making Happy. What was it, and how did you regain your happiness balance afterward?

During the editing process I could not crack it. We had all the elements, but finding the right order of sequences in the film, and coming up with a cohesive element to the whole thing proved to be elusive and frustrating for over 2 years(!!!). Finally I gave in to the pleas from my team to record a voiceover and that eventually led to solutions to all the remaining challenges of the film. I have never been unhappy about this film while making it or since.

3. Do you consider yourself a goal-oriented person? If so, how do you stay happy even during times when you don’t feel on track to meet your goals? If not, how do you decide what to work on?

I set few goals for myself. But when I do, only very few things would be able to knock me off track. The way I stay happy is by appreciating what I have to be grateful for and thinking about so many people who are less fortunate than I am.

4. If you could leave a message of encouragement to your younger self, what would you say?

What matters to you also matters to other people. Your films WILL find their audience.
Follow your passion and most other things will fall into place.

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