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A feature-documentary telling the story of a human-powered journey across Bhutan exploring the Himalayan Kingdom's unique policy of Gross National Happiness.
A feature-documentary telling the story of a human-powered journey across Bhutan exploring the Himalayan Kingdom's unique policy of Gross National Happiness.
932 backers pledged $112,110 to help bring this project to life.

Behind-the-scenes microdoc: Imogen Heap + The Happiest Place

Posted by Ben Henretig (Creator)

First, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the project to date -- with your help, we’ve pushed past our first stretch goal of $55,000 for color correction and are nearing the $70,000 we need for professional sound mixing and Dolby licensing.

I spent the last two weeks just outside of London in a creative vortex working with producer / recording artist Imogen Heap on music for the film.  Suffice to say my musical-mind was blown.

Here’s Part One of a behind-the-scenes documentary we pieced together about her connection to Bhutan and the unique process for you to enjoy.  Please view and share!

Graciously and generously, Tony Lillios (member of the expedition team) Adam Warmington (co-producer / editor for making-of microdoc) and I were hosted by Kelly Snook, Imogen Heap's "Chief Technical Officer" at Heap Central, and her partner Caeli in a farmhouse in London's Green Belt next to Imogen's home and studio.  (Photos below!)

The start of the week was buoyed by the excitement of our successful launch of the Kickstarter campaign, with the page loaded on everyone mobile phone and computer and Facebook/Twitter updates going out in every direction.

We started by sharing footage and assemblies of the Bhutan expedition last year with Imogen, including sections that she wasn't part of and had never seen, outlining the story arc and gems from the film and what she saw set off smiles and sparks. She doodled all kind on notes and started creating this working mindmap of the music and film.

We crawled down into the basement, which was her childhood playroom that now houses the adult musical playground that would create a wide-eye stare to any musician. I rolled through selected footage while Imogen sampled and gathered sound bites, tweaking, looping and playing with them. She occasionally would stand up and walk to the vibraphone to noodle with Bhutanese chanting in the background. Watching the initial seeds of "ditties" unfold was playful, connected, and enchanting.

Sleep was at an extreme premium across the board though the communal supportive nature around these weeks was so warm, playful, creative and positive. Teas and coffees were being prepared by all, for all and at all hours of the day and night, fueling this temporary intersection of creative talents and a variety of interlinked goals. We found ourselves commonly having 3 am breakfasts, 4 am jam sessions, all night editing sessions, drawn out Kickstarter updates, squeezing in runs, proper meals, and a bonfire with hay-bale seats.

Throughout the process Imogen insisted on finding a voice for her bits of the score that was authentic to the sounds and melodies that we encountered in Bhutan.  The music that resulted is incredibly stirring and beautiful.  Can't wait to share in the next update!


Ben & The Happiest Place Team

*Big thanks to Adam Warmington for helping to take photos and produce / edit the making-of & Tony Lillios and Corwin Crownover for their tireless energy / ideas / work on Kickstarter, and, of course, to Imogen, Thomas, Kelly, and Caeli for their tremendous warmth and generosity in hosting us*

*Photo credits Ben Henretig & Adam Warmington*

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    1. Ben Henretig Creator on

      You posted a near final copy! :-) We weren't done with it. It will be done shortly and THEN you can share again! Thanks for the support. We needed to dial it in a bit more.

    2. Robert A. Zamora on

      Bummer. Miss the behind the scenes vids of the process, maybe they'll come back later? :)