In 2010, Gallup measured Americans’ happiness, and found these as the happiest possible characteristics:
Male • Asian American • Observant Jew • 65 or older • Tall • Lives in Hawaii
Married with Children • Business Owner • Household Income over $120,000/Year
In our fictional short film, LARA LIU, a survey developer comforted by all things mathematical, creates this very poll and finds these very results. Though creating this poll was her job, it’s also personal. Mourning the loss of a young daughter whose death she feels responsible for on a cellular level, Lara finds KEN WOO, the one and only person who actually fits all of the “top” happiness characteristics—and pays him a Hawaiian visit in hopes that, by knowing him, she can fill her own void.
But as Lara learns over the course of a Sukkot dinner with Ken, his wife MEG, and his children ERIC and SUSAN, statistics on paper are never the same as lived-in reality. So what is “happiness,” and what happens when you tell someone else that they are “it?”
Set at the cultural intersection of American Judaism and the Asian American experience, The Happiest Person In America is a whimsical, slyly insightful, and ultimately bittersweet tale of what we lose and what we gain throughout our lives, and how those transactions affect our identities—even while we must acknowledge that there are aspects of each of us that are immutable.
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