Happy Valley (film)

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Happy Valley
Happy Valley.png
Directed byAmir Bar-Lev
Produced byJohn Battsek
Ken Dornstein
Jonathan Koch
Steven Michaels
Written byAmir Bar-Lev
Music byH. Scott Salinas
CinematographyNelson Hume
Sean Kirby
Edited byBrian Funck
Dan Swietlik
David Zieff
Release date
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States

Happy Valley is a 2014 American documentary film, written and directed by Amir Bar-Lev.[1][2] The film had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014.[3][4]

The film later screened at 2014 Sarasota Film Festival and won the jury award at the festival.[5]


The film narrates the event at The Pennsylvania State University, when in November 2011 the former long-time defensive coordinator of school's football team, Jerry Sandusky, was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, setting off a firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children.


Happy Valley received positive reviews from critics. Justin Chang of Variety said in his review that "Amir Bar-Lev offers a typically gripping and thoughtful take on the Penn State scandal."[6] John DeFore, in his review for The Hollywood Reporter, praised the film, saying that "Amir Bar-Lev's Happy Valley is more concerned with the phenomenon of team spirit than any single question of fact or moral judgment."[7] Eric Kohn Vaughan of Indiewire graded the film with a B+ and said, "Happy Valley turns the tables on the national perception of the scandal. Looking directly into the camera after the team has been banned by the league, one supporter shouts, 'Stop putting all the bad stuff on TV!' The words resonate for anyone who has followed the headlines from the past several years. Watching Happy Valley, it's hard not to feel complicit in the university's weakened state."[8]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2014 Sarasota Film Festival Best Documentary Feature - Jury Prize Amir Bar-Lev Won[5]


  1. ^ "Sundance 2014: What happened at Penn State was not anomalous at all, says 'Happy Valley' director". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  2. ^ "Sundance: Jerry Sandusky Son Breaks Silence at 'Happy Valley' Premiere". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sundance 2014: Documentary Premieres". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  4. ^ "'Happy Valley' Documentary to Premiere at Sundance Film Festival". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "'Ida,' 'Happy Valley' and 'Thou Wast Mild and Lovely' Top Sarasota Film Festival Winnersl". Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  6. ^ "Sundance Film Review: 'Happy Valley'". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  7. ^ "Happy Valley: Sundance Review". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  8. ^ "Sundance Review: Jerry Sandusky Went to Jail. Then What? Penn State's Future Is Focus of Amir Bar-Lev's 'Happy Valley'". Retrieved May 7, 2014.

External links[edit]