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‘Happy Valley’ Director on Creating a Documentary About Empathy and Human Failings

Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary Happy Valley, about the Penn State/Sandusky scandal, doesn’t focus so much on the investigation as the human foibles that led to the cover-up.

Bar-Lev tells Moveable Fest, “I make these movies because they can be good exercises in building empathy. For me, the story that seems to be the most efficacious in building empathy was the story of the people who might have been able to stop this, but didn’t do enough for reasons that, to my mind, don’t have to do with protecting the Penn State brand or Jerry Sandusky or trying to maintain revenues for their football program. Rather, they’re much more commonplace – the idea of seeing, but not seeing and willing oneself to push to the periphery that makes one uncomfortable. Those are things that I think we’re all guilty of and I’m interested in the failings that I have that are a part of all us. That is what’s worth it for me to spend two years doing it, so it’s worth it for my audience to spend 90 minutes watching.”

Read the full story here.