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The Rife Team

Truth About Youth: ‘What Makes You Happy?’

Young Film makers

Copyright: Bad Chicken Productions

Jess Connett gets the lowdown on how young people in Bristol recently made an amazing film about happiness, with The Prince’s Trust and Age UK.

Who, or what, is it that makes you feel happy? Not just vaguely pleased, but a sunbeams-in-your-heart kind of feeling – like you can’t stop grinning and you sort of wonder whether you’re in a movie, because at any moment you might spontaneously break into a song-and-dance routine in a public place?

This massive subject has been tackled in a new film made by 14 young people in Bristol on a Truth About Youth film programme, supported by The Prince’s Trust. In an ambitious project, they teamed up with Age UK during the Celebrating Age Festival and made the film in just three weeks with the help of Bad Chicken Productions. Their plan was to break down some of the boundaries between young and older people, and explore the things that make us all happy.

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Gruffudd Jones got onto the course after being unemployed for a while. ‘It was a way to stop being lazy and go out and do something,’ he told me. ‘I got to meet loads of people, and make connections with people in the film industry. It was way better than just doing work experience.’

Gruff and the team had some technical training from their mentors, and were then let loose in Bristol to make their film. ‘The hardest part was coming up with an idea which wasn’t going to be pretentious or patronising. This was a really big topic.’

The film breaks down boundaries between young and older people

Covering issues as diverse as LGBT rights, loneliness and disability, ‘What Makes You Happy?’ covers on some difficult ground as it meanders through the lives of the interviewees.

Ultimately, it is an uplifting film which showcases what young people can achieve when they think big.

From directing the opening scene to designing the closing credits, Gruff’s experience has set him up for the future. ‘I now know how to make a documentary, and how to get stuff done. The film got a great reception when we screened it at the Arnolfini so I’m really glad I had the chance to be involved.’

Does this film give you the happy feels? Which part of your life was the happiest – or is the best yet to come? Let us know @Rife