What is 42 Seconds of Happiness?
42 Seconds of Happiness is that moment when we are in the moment.
We are making a film about the only energy which can keep us in the moment: love, and we are making it with the only method which can take us to the moment: improv.
In the past year, we have experimented in the frame of our transmedia project "42 Seconds of Happiness" with improvisation as a method for screenwriting, emotional immersion and self-actualization, and as a way to becoming more perceptive and communicative on all levels – not only the one connected with words – and to opening our eyes to dimensions we have not been able to perceive before.
Our mission is to show how we are connected and share knowledge (cognitive and emotional) on a level, which is beyond our understanding; to fire up a discussion about all the issues which our experiment touches upon: the nature of reality, the way we perceive and create our realities through storytelling, the layers which lie between our stories and our emotional truth, surface and essence; and to open the way for a deeper understanding of the Other’s emotional state/position and through that for true compassion and love.
The final step of the process is the movie. We have recorded every step since the beginning of this project. We broadcast the way to the movie with a webseries which was launched on September 1st, 2012 and will continue broadcasting till the movie is released. One of our fans has described it as watching “real people going through real stories in their real lives”. We would add “and creating their realities”, as we all can – something which we believe will become clear to everyone who follows our experiment. We are using storytelling to understand what love is – or perhaps first what love is not. In Krishnamurti’s words, as love is the unknown, we must come to it by discarding the known. The unknown cannot be discovered by a mind that is full of the known.
We believe that there is only one way to achieve a look that is pure, without condemnation: as a group (rather than as individuals, through personal experience, isolated from each other), and through improvisation, so with a mind and heart that are as free from the known as humanly possible.
What does your contribution mean for us?
As always with crowdfunding, some of you will be paying for your ticket to watch the movie in advance. We have added some perks which have to do with our process, for those of you who would like to contribute more. In addition, if you are paying taxes in the US, your contribution is tax-deductible.
For all of us involved in this project, what counts the most is creative freedom. This means an unusual filmmaking process and an unusual budget.
$5,000 is our minimum amount needed to make us elligible for grants and for our pre-production. $15,000 is our minimum budget to shoot the film. If we achieve above and beyond our $5,000 goal with this campaign we may be able to shoot without additional grant assistance, which means right away(!) and for that, you are awesome! The money in our minimum budget will go toward paying our cast & crew, insurance, food and special sound equipment for our specific way of working.
Which films should you have in mind when thinking of 42 Seconds of Happiness?
Erich Fromm, in his book The Art of Loving, said that true love is an art, just as living is an art; and that if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art. “Maybe here lies the answer,” he writes, “to the question of why people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art, in spite of their obvious failures: in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power - almost all our energy is used for learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving. Could it be that only these things are considered worthy of being learned with which one can earn money or prestige, and that love, which ONLY profits the soul, but is profitless in the modern sense, is a luxury we have no right to spend much energy on?”
We do not think that we have the luxury to consider love a luxury anymore, and that there is anything which is ultimately more important than love. Inspired by Fromm, we see our project as a course in the art of loving. We believe that it is only through love that our problems (our personal and society problems) can be solved – but that we do not understand what love is and that we misuse the word. Anyone who agrees with us or who wants to give us the benefit of the doubt, should support.
What other things can you do to help?
Spread the word! The power of our personal, professional and social media networks is astounding. Sharing the link to our campaign and why you support us is worth the world to us. Thank you!
Who is involved?
(in alphabetical order)
Becca Ayers - Cybil
Vandit Bhatt - Ben
Catherine Cobb Ryan - Vineke
John J. Concado - Marc
Robert Z. Grant - Tomas
Margaret Kelly Murphy - Maria
Laura Pruden - Sila
Toni Robison-May - Felice
Frederick Secrease - Peter
Lauren Sowa - Alis
Chris Veteri - Ike
Read more about them here.
Christina Kallas (creator/writer/director)
Christina is a writer-producer for film and television, book author and professor for film, since January 2005 she is the president of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE). Screen credits include the feature films Mothers (2010), selected as the Macedonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards and for the Panorama at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival; The Commissioner (1998), starring John Hurt and Armin Mueller-Stahl, selected for the Official Competition of the Berlin International Film Festival; I.D. (1994); Liebe Lügen (1997), winner of the First Film Award at the Munich Film Festival; the TV movie Männer sind wie Schokolade (1999); as well as several episodes of the Best German TV-awarded series Edel & Starck (2001 – 2003) and Danni Lowinski (2010). In 2010 she founded the Writers Improv Studio in New York City, for which she has created 42 Seconds of Happiness (2011 – ).
Kallas is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Film Division, and at The New School for Media Studies in New York City. She earned her B.A, M.A., and Ph.D. in Communication and Media Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, and has previously taught at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (1997-2007); the International Film School in Cologne (2002 -2007); the Scuola Holden per le Techniche Narrative in Torino, Italy; the Film Studies Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and The Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
She is the author of five books, among them Creative Screenwriting: Understanding Emotional Structure (Palgrave, London/New York, 2010).
Allison Vanore (producer)
Allison Vanore is an award winning independent film and indie television producer who was born and raised in Wall, New Jersey. She received a BFA in film and video production from the University of Arizona and since then has worked between Los Angeles (where she resides) and New York City.
Allison brings an abundance of knowledge and experience to 42 Seconds of Happiness from her work on independent films and with online digital series. Allison is known for resourcefulness and creativity when it comes to limited budgets and restricted film financing. Adaptation and her get-it-done attitude is what keeps her projects moving forward.
Her feature film credits include recent films, Love in the Time of Monsters (2013) a horror comedy, and Hopelessly in June (2012) starring Keith David, Tiny Lister, Peter Jason and Ed Asner which screened at festivals across the country, won the Feature Bud Abbott Comedy Award, is available in retail outlets nationwide and on VOD. Other notable projects include an anti-bullying PSA called The Price of Silence (2009) (featured at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance in 2009/10), a critically acclaimed indie television series called SOLO The Series (2010), award-winning original series Anyone But Me (2011 - 2012) by Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward, and recently launched series Cost of Capital (2012) by Brian DeChesare.
Jorge Luis Urbina (director of photography)
As a Director of Photography, Jorge Luis Urbina maintains that limitations breed creativity. He focuses on performance and storytelling and is skilled in handheld camera work which is essential for 42 Seconds of Happiness.
Jorge's recent work includes features Love in the Time of Monsters, Good Boy, and La Venganza as well as short films A Note to Etienne and Junkyard, web program for Neutrogena "Wave For Change" and webseries "Whole Day Down" and "Diary of a Wedding Planner."
Jorge received a BFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Arizona as well as an Associates Degree at the the American Musical and Dramatic Arts Academy for Musical Theatre and Dramatic Performance.
Thank you to our Cast and to Mauro Carichini, Frank Mohler, Meredith King, Michael S. Chandler, Andrea Romano, Ashley Christopher Leach, Alison G. Vingiano, Dollena Campbell, Alexandros Gloor and Rob Gokee for their support of this campaign and film!