A film by Amir Bar-Lev
Respected documentarian Amir Bar-Lev (Fighter, The Tillman Story) takes an unflinching look at an iconic American institution with his award-winning expose HAPPY VALLEY. In the wake of an unthinkable child sex abuse scandal in 2011, HAPPY VALLEY examines a wounded community and the role college football played in both the crimes and their aftermath.
Joe Paterno was the celebrated head coach of Penn State’s storied football team for almost half a century. He was a revered figure lauded for the team’s success and students’ achievements, as well as an iconic representation of team loyalty. Everything changed in November 2011, when longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse. This immediately set off a firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children of Happy Valley. Also implicated were the alleged actions of several university officials on whether they met ethical, moral, and legal obligations in reporting any suspected abuse.
Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky’s arrest as key players agreed to share their stories, HAPPY VALLEY deconstructs the story as reported by the media to uncover a much more complicated and tragic tale.
“I realized that my job here as a filmmaker was not to join the finger-pointing, but, rather, to figure out the narrative that would make sense of all of the different versions of the truth that I was hearing around the town and outside of it,” says director Amir Bar-Lev, describing HAPPY VALLEY as “a kind of moral parable of our time.”
“I want audiences to come out of the film feeling the complexity of it all in a way that we can often miss when these stories wash over us every day on the news.”
Following its release to the U.S.’s top theatrical markets this fall, Music Box Films Home Entertainment will release HAPPY VALLEY on DVD for the first time on April 7, for suggested retail price of $29.95. The disc will carry bonus features including a behind-the-scenes interview with director.
Prior to its theatrical release, HAPPY VALLEY was a breakout entry on the festival circuit, taking home the prize for ‘Best Documentary Feature’ at the Sarasota Film Festival. An Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival, HAPPY VALLEY also played to acclaim at the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the AFI Docs Documentary Film Festival.
More information on HAPPY VALLEY can be found on the MUSIC BOX FILMS website at http://www.musicboxfilms.com/happy-valley