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The Happy Film

May 11, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Stefan Sagmeister and Ben Nabors’ playful documentary The Happy Film (2016, 95 min.) screens at the Museum of Vancouver as part of a special program.

Following the film, Sagmeister will be joined by clinical psychologist and ordained Buddhist monk Dr. Sean Pritchard, and Clinical Associate UBC Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Andrea Grabovac to discuss the film’s pursuit of happiness and some of the pitfalls Sagmeister experiences on his journey.

Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is doing well. He lives in New York, the city of his dreams, and enjoys success in his work, designing album covers for the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z and the Talking Heads. But in the back of his mind he suspects there must be something more. He decides to turn himself into a design project. Poignant existential questions arise: can he redesign his personality to become a better person? Is it possible to train his mind to become happier? Sagmeister pursues three controlled experiments of meditation, therapy, and drugs, grading himself along the way. Inevitably real life creeps in and confounds the process: art, sex, love, and death prove impossible to disentangle. His unique designs and painfully personal experiences mark a journey that travels closer to himself than ever intended.

Much like the sensory-rich Happy Show exhibition (on display at MOV in 2015), The Happy Film is a dazzling documentary that plays with design elements as it showcases enlightenment in an estranged structured modality.

Sagmeister makes for an interesting and memorable subject as daily life and its emotional fluxes becomes fodder for the viewer to contemplate larger questions about their own mortality, cause and effect relationships, and levels of happiness.

Date: Thursday, May 11

Time: 7pm

Admission: $24; *$21 for MOV members


*MOV members must present their membership cards to enter with membership discounted tickets. You will receive a code in our email newsletter for online discount at check out.

MOV’s exhibitions will be open to 8pm. Film ticket holders are welcome to visit the exhibitions prior to the screening.

Dr. Andrea Grabovac is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Her psychiatric practice focuses on inpatient psychiatry at Vancouver General Hospital and outpatient psycho-oncology at the BC Cancer Agency. Since 2006, she has been facilitating mindfulness-based treatments for sexual medicine, mood disorder and oncology populations. Andrea’s academic publications explore the clinical relevance of re-contextualizing mindfulness-based interventions within Buddhist psychological frameworks. She is Associate Editor for the journal Mindfulness and has practiced and studied in the Burmese Theravada Vipassana tradition since 2002.

Dr. Sean Pritchard holds a PhD in clinical psychology and currently has a private counselling practice in Vancouver. He has spent a number of years as an ordained Buddhist monk in the Burmese Theravada tradition. He has traveled worldwide teaching Mahasi-style vipassana (mindfulness) and Metta (loving-kindness) meditation practices to many different cultures and nationalities. His experience and teaching has provided him with a unique perspective on the Asian and Western understanding of mental health.

Stefan Sagmeister formed the New York based Sagmeister Inc. in 1993 and has since designed for clients as diverse as the Rolling Stones and the Guggenheim Museum. In addition to two Grammies, he has also won practically every important international design award. In 2012, designer Jessica Walsh became a partner and the company was renamed to Sagmeister & Walsh. His Happy Show became the most visited graphic design exhibit in history.


May 11, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Museum of Vancouver
1100 Chestnut Street
Vancouver , BC Canada


Museum of Vancouver
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