"I'm Happy" is a short film by (and starring) Michael Neithardt, who is also Executive Producer, New Business at Psyop. It recently had its world premiere at Tropfest NY in Bryant Park.
Shot in Barcelona, Southern Spain, Southern France and Long Island, NY, the film is the story of a man's premature heart attack forcing him to come to terms with the regrets of his life. It explores the conversation in his mind during these his final moments. One part tone-poem, one part dream-scape, the man journeys through an exploration within his own mind and ultimately has to acknowledge the lies he has been telling himself all along.
"Too many people are just walking around, going through the motions of living but not actually doing so," says Neithardt on the theme of the film. "They wind up in some dead end job, move somewhere they don't even want to be and give up on all the things they love to do. The idea of becoming that person scares the shit out of me. So 'What If?' What if that person suddenly died prematurely? What would be the conversation in that person's mind in their final moments? This is what I explore in 'I'm Happy'. I want to inspire people to have this conversation with themselves before it is in fact too late."
The film was a bit of a family project for Neithardt. Excluding the opening and closing shots, which Neithardt's father Steve Neithardt drove the camera car for, the whole film was shot on location with just Neithardt's wife, Vanessa, and their 22-month-old son, Beckett - who he jokingly refers to as his "PA". The three of them would set out everyday with some planned shots and then stumble upon locations that they knew would work. "It was such a gift to be in less familiar locations," says Neithardt. "My creative senses are much more easily peaked when I'm in unfamiliar surroundings."
Production Company: Palmy Inn Productions
Produced By: Michael Neithardt and Vanessa Lenz Neithardt
Written By: Michael Neithardt
Directed By: Michael Neithardt
Director of Photography: Vanessa Lenz Neithardt
Cast: Man - Michael Neithardt
Editor: Russell Costanzo
VFX and Color Correct: Douglas Purver
Sound Design & Mix: Daniel Ricci
Production Assistant: Beckett Neithardt
Lead Camera Car Driver: Steve Neithardt
T-Shirt Design: Sophie Gate