SHARES WORKING TITLE WITH UPCOMING DE PALMA/PACINO PATERNO FILM
The Sundance Film Festival this week announced its documentary premieres for its upcoming 2014 edition (January 16-26), and one of them is a film called Happy Valley, directed by Amir Bar-Lev, who also directed 2010's The Tillman Story. The Sundance description of Bar-Lev's Happy Valley is as follows: "The children of 'Happy Valley' were victimized for years, by a key member of the legendary Penn State college football program. But were Jerry Sandusky’s crimes an open secret? With rare access, director Amir Bar-Lev delves beneath the headlines to tell a modern American parable of guilt, redemption, and identity."
It appears that while Brian De Palma's film (also called Happy Valley) will focus on the life and career of Joe Paterno, Bar-Lev's documentary takes a head-on approach to the Sandusky scandal, and how it has affected the Penn State community. The News & Observer's Lewis Beale interviewed Bar-Lev this past April. Here's a passage in which they discuss Happy Valley:
“I’m not interested in stories with very clear white hats and black hats,” says Bar-Lev. “Those stories just reassure me my values are all in place. I’m interested in stories that provoke thorny questions, and cause me to evaluate and poke and prod at my belief system. That’s what good documentary filmmaking does.”
And that’s a good reason why Bar-Lev’s next film, “Happy Valley,” is about the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal. But it’s not that Bar-Lev is particularly interested in Sandusky.
“I’m more interested in how we relate to Jerry Sandusky, the mythological nature of Sandusky and (former Penn State football coach) Joe Paterno,” he says. “We call the film ‘Happy Valley’ because we’re interested in how the town is reckoning with itself in the aftermath of the scandal.”
(Thanks to Rado!)