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A documentary capturing an unprecedented, border-to-border crossing of Bhutan -  one of the happiest places on earth.
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.

About this project

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The Happiest Place : A Journey Across Bhutan

$112,110

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**Click here for access to updates on the project and to pre-order the film.**

Contact us directly: contact@thehappiestplacefilm.com

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"The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness.  It is the goal of every other goal.  Ben Henretig has embarked on an ambitious project to document a country and culture that has embraced Happiness as a part of its national policy" - Deepak Chopra

Featuring original music by Imogen Heap & Zoe Keating

WHY WE'RE MAKING THIS FILM:

We're making this film because we're concerned that, in our rush to make progress in the world, we're leaving things behind.

Important things.

THE STORY:

Last year, four adventurers made an unprecedented human-powered, border-to-border crossing of Bhutan - a 42-day, 485-mile journey that would profoundly change all their lives. 

The Happiest Place tells the story of this incredible journey, offering a glimpse into a forgotten world that may have hidden within it the key to responsible progress in the 21st century.

The film marries the best parts of an epic adventure film with a timely inquiry into what matters most. 10 inspired trekkers joined the journey for 10 days including Imogen Heap, who will be writing a piece of original music for the film. The grueling physical challenge of crossing Bhutan becomes a metaphor for each of our personal journeys on the road to authentic, sustainable happiness.

ABOUT BHUTAN:

Many know Bhutan as one of the happiest places on earth, as the last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom and the only country in the world to use Gross National Happiness as its primary yardstick for progress.

A villager and her baby from Sakteng, the Eastern-most village in Bhutan.
A villager and her baby from Sakteng, the Eastern-most village in Bhutan.

In Bhutan's rugged mountains and pristine forests, in the smiles of farmers and archers, in the hillside monasteries and ancient fortresses, we see reflected the grace of generations of wisdom. A fragile beauty that is emblematic of all those natural spaces, traditions and cultures around the world that are slowly disappearing in the wake of progress.

WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT:

*The film has been shot and is sitting on 36TB of hard drives - with your support we can finish the film!*

To date, this project has been self-funded on sweat and credit cards.

A partnership with the Bhutan Olympic Committee gave us special access to dignitaries, athletes, royalty, nuns, musicians, and farmers throughout the journey.  Their support afforded us a rare opportunity to film for 2 months - longer than any team has ever filmed in Bhutan.

This film will offer an intimate glimpse of Bhutan few have ever experienced.

Bhutan showcases some of the most beautiful valleys in the world
Bhutan showcases some of the most beautiful valleys in the world

IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS ARE TRUE, YOU'LL LOVE THIS FILM:

  • The concept of Gross National Happiness makes you smile.
  • Your favorite films have incredible soundtracks (Imogen Heap & Zoe Keating).
  • You love to hear friends tell you tales of their journeys to far off lands - and how they've been transformed.
  • You have an adventurous spirit.
  • You speak Dzongka.
  • You'd rather walk or bike than take the car, thank you very much.
  • You're a sucker for films with beautiful cinematography.
  • "It can't be done" makes you think "Oh yes it can."
  • You're curious whether the expedition (and film team) make it all the way across the country.
  • You like films that make you really feel more than just think.
  • A trip to Bhutan is on your bucket list.
  • You know someone who knows someone who knows someone who worked really hard on this film and you want to see the project succeed.
The team huddles around a fire on our first Trek
The team huddles around a fire on our first Trek

PHOTO GALLERY:

Click here to view select photos from the $100 reward level.

THE TEAM:

We have a world-class team at work on this documentary.

  • Ben Henretig - Director /  Cinematographer
  • Larkin Donley - Cinematographer
  • Peter Stoddard - Sound Recordist / Photographer
  • David Pond - Assistant Editor
  • Rico Andrade - Assistant Editor
  • Andy Evans - Co-Executive Producer
  • Thomas Ermacora - Co-Executive Producer
  • Jameson Hsu - Co-Executive Producer
  • Andrea Chung - Producer
  • Tony Lillios - Producer  
  • Amy Benziger - Producer
  • Bob Henretig - Associate Producer
  • Diane Donley - Associate Producer
  • Nicolette Borek Associate Producer
  • Corwin Crownover - Associate Producer
  • James H. Fitzgerald - Associate Producer
  • Ugen Tshering Nadik - Field Producer / Fixer
  • Karma Dorji - Field Producer
  • Karen Everett - Story Consultant
  • Imogen Heap - Composing original music for the film
  • Zoe Keating - Composing original music for the film

FAQ

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    ///// THE HAPPIEST ONE ///// Happiness of contributing and joining the team + updates on all aspects of the film

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    22 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    // THE HAPPIEST SUPPORTER // Special thanks on the website + behind the scenes updates on the film and Ben & Imogen's collaboration

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    59 backers
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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    // THE HAPPIEST MOVIEGOER // (previous +) HD download of The Happiest Place

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    352 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    // THE HAPPIEST FILM JUNKIE // (previous +) DVD with exclusive, unreleased Bhutan footage & interviews + Exclusive soundtrack featuring Imogen Heap & Zoe Keating

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    275 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    // THE HAPPIEST PHOTO JUNKIE // (previous +) Unique matte 8 x 10 photo of your choosing from the film team, expedition team and Imogen, signed by the director. See a sampling of images from the PHOTO GALLERY link at the end of the description.

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    72 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    // THE HAPPIEST COLLABORATOR //
    (previous +) Private rough cut screening & reception in San Francisco + "special thanks" in the film's closing credits.

    Participate in audience feedback and help shape the final cut of the film! (transportation not included).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    // THE HAPPIEST COLLABORATOR // NEW NYC EDITION! (previous +) Private rough cut screening & reception in New York + "special thanks" in the film's closing credits. Participate in audience feedback and help shape the final cut of the film! (transportation not included).

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    Limited 10 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    // THE HAPPIEST BHUTANOPHILE // (previous +) Kickstarter-exclusive Team Photo Book featuring private photographs and stories from the film team, expedition team, and Imogen. Your name will be included in the special thanks section of the book. This book will not be available any other way.

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    Limited 21 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    // THE HAPPIEST KICKSTARTER // NEW! (previous +) 90-minute, one-on-one Skype consultation with Ben on your Kickstarter campaign and / or film / creative project (transferable as a gift)

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    // THE HAPPIEST FESTIVAL GOER // (previous +) A ticket to our festival premiere + private dinner with film team (travel not included)

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    ///// THE HAPPIEST EDITOR ///// NEW! ($500 reward level +) Join Ben for a day in NYC for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the editing process + private dinner.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    /// THE HAPPIEST DIRECTOR /// ($500 reward level +) Ben co-directs / films whatever you want for one day and hands over footage (travel and production costs not included)

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    /// THE HAPPIEST SCREENER /// ($500 reward level +) A screening + talk on the film at a venue of your choice in North America + dinner with Ben and Terri Schneider, the Expedition Leader (travel not included)

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    // HAPPIEST ASSOC. PRODUCER // ($500 reward level +) Associate Producer credit on the film and IMDb entry not to mention a whole lot of great karma.

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    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    // HAPPIEST CO-EXEC PRODUCER // ($500 reward level +) Co-Executive Producer credit on the film and IMDb entry not to mention the wave of happiness from the whole team!

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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Funding period

- (31 days)