A Manual on Work and Happiness enters post-production
by Vitor Pinto
- Altrove Films reunites with directors Elena Goatelli and Angel Esteban for another film project centred on the creative process behind a stage show
Have you ever wondered about the link between work and happiness? Or wondered what form work is likely to take in a high-tech future, and how that will have an impact on our collective happiness? These are some of the questions raised by the stage show A Manual on Work and Happiness, a co-production between Portugal, Italy and Greece, directed by Portuguese company mala voadora. The show recently opened the 43rd Pergine Festival and was preceded by a creative residency involving local citizens with no previous experience in the performing arts, who ultimately went up on stage for the first time ever. The whole process was closely followed by directors Elena Goatelli and Angel Esteban, and will spawn a documentary produced by Roberto Cavalini for Trento-based outfit Altrove Films.
This is not the first time that Goatelli and Esteban have been involved in a film partially centred on a creative process. Their latest project, Malditos, currently in post-production and also part of Altrove Films’ line-up, followed a group of unemployed Spanish people who decided to set up a theatre company, which ultimately won Spain’s National Theatre Prize in 2016. Malditos was a reflection on fleeting success, daily resistance and work. In A Manual… the context is similar: there is a theatre project and a temporary community of non-professionals willing to challenge themselves and step outside their comfort zone. In a character-driven portrait of audiences-turned-performers, the camera follows the cast members both on and off stage, from the very first rehearsals to what goes on backstage on the opening night, also portraying them as they go about their daily routines at work.
According to Cavalini, “Self-confidence is a key topic in the film,” which captures the characters right from their hesitant debuts, during a challenging journey of empowerment. “When you get more self-confident about what you do at work, you are also more likely to feel happy about it,” added the producer, who is also presenting J by Bosnian director Gaetano Liberti this Friday, in competition at FIDMarseille.
Now in the editing bay, the documentary A Manual on Work and Happiness is set to open in Lisbon in October as an integral part of an international conference supported by Creative Europe tackling the themes of community projects, audience development and participatory theatre. Soon after, it will be ready to start its run on the festival circuit.
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