We Will Be Happy is a documentary film about Daniel, a young man from Lipiny – the poorest town in the southern Poland. Daniel wants out of the omnipresent misery. With a mobile phone camera in his hand he wanders round his neighborhood asking kids and grownups questions about their dreams. Are they going to come true, at least, for some? However, in the process of Daniel’s filming there emerges a hidden layer: the love between him and his charismatic grandmother. But will he ever manage to complete his film?
We Will Be Happy directed by Pawel Wysoczanski ia part of 2012 Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles program.
Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us about We Will Be Happy, your film at the Polish Film Festival Los Angeles this year?
Pawel Wysoczanski: It’s my first film after graduating from film school in Poland and I made it the way that I wanted to; this is because we have very good conditions to work in. This film is about a boy from a poor district, trying to escape to a better life. He documents all of this with his mobile because he is making a film about his life. This is a film about making films, but also about love, as we see with his very powerful and charismatic grandmother who supports him. So that is the subject of the film, but the most important thing is that I had really good conditions to work in because that was my first film as a director and screenwriter—and also that was my first film with the editor, cinematographer and producers, so the film is like our own child.
BT: How did you find Daniel?
PW: I found Daniel during my film school tenure when I was working as an assistant on a big Polish feature film. I worked with the great Polish director Robert Glinski, and I was casting with him for a film called Piggies. I was always silently thinking about my own film, and I grew to know that some people in poorer districts are great actors; they have truth inside of them. I found Daniel and they told me not to take him— they said he would steal my camera. In fact, he was a very good actor! He got the part in Piggies, and after that film he called to me and said, “Pawel, I want to make movies because it is much better work than mining or factory work. I want to do something with movies.” Initially, I had to tell him that I didn’t have anything for him at the moment, but I later visited with him when I started to make my own film. I realized that it would be a great subject to follow a story like Daniel’s, and that is how I came to work with him.
BT: How did the local people react during the shoot?
PW: The people from the village were very aggressive and they did not want us to shoot. I had to assure them that we were not making an aggressive film about this poor district, and they eventually agreed to let me make the film in peace. It was a crowded screening—and at the beginning there was some noise in the theatre—but after the film, everyone was very happy. The beginning the film is very pessimistic, but as the story evolved they saw that the film was trying to escape from this world trying to show this world in a different way; with hope and without this pessimistic view. It’s actually quite popular, this district, and filmmakers used to show it as a very dark place, but people everywhere are bright and you just have to have patience and good eyes to see the right things. I think this is a film of love, and I hope I showed good things about this district.
BT: What do you think about winning the Hollywood Eagle Documentary Award at the Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles?
PW: It is one of my dreams! Los Angeles is the capital of filmmaking, and I have just loved American movies all my life. I am dreaming about this award, but I don’t think it impossible, so I dream about it of course. I am very honored, and it would be prestigious for me and our movie—if there is going to be an award, of course I would like to get it!