PRODUCTION: Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó in Postproduction with New Documentary Shot in Bhutan

    Agent of Happiness by Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó Agent of Happiness by Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó photo: Mozinet

    BUDAPEST: Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó return to Bhutan with their new documentary Agent of Happiness / Bruttó Nemzeti Boldogság, which was supported by the National Film Institute – Hungary (NFI). This coproduction between Hungary and Bhutan is currently in rough cut stage, and it is taking part in the dok.incubator INT workshop 2023.

    In Bhutan, the last Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, happiness agents travel door to door measuring the happiness index of the society. They collect data for the Center for Gross National Happiness, established by the king to create five year happiness plans. The film is a poetic road movie following a happiness agent, Amber. Through him, we encounter everyday people and their dreams. Amber is 40, still living with his mother and a relentless romantic who dreams of finding love but can’t. His job is to measure how happy people are, but deep inside he is in search of his own happiness.

    Noemi Veronika Szakonyi is producing through Hungary’s Match Frame Productions Kft in coproduction with Sound Pictures from Bhutan. The National Film Institute – Hungary, the Sundance Institute, Catapult Film Fund, deNovo Initiative and the South Korean DMZ Docs Fund are supporting the project.

    The film was shot in Bhutan for several seasons.

    Agent of Happiness was selected for Dhaka Doc Lab 2019, where it won the Best Project Award as well as the IEFTA – International Emerging Film Talent Association Award, which sponsored the team to attend the Cannes Docs Co-Pro Speed Meetings within Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival 2020. The project also took part in the DocedgeKolkata workshop and pitching forum, where it received a scholarship from the Tribeca Film Institute to participate in the Institute’s Network Market.

    Agent of Happiness is set to be released in Hungary by Mozinet in 2024.

    The first long documentary by Dorottya Zurbó and Arun Bhattarai, The Next Guardian (2017), was also shot in Bhutan.

    dok.incubator INT 2023 includes three stages: rough cut (to be held in Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia 24 – 29 April 2023), fine cut (to be hosted in Budapest by the Hungarian Documentary Association - MADOKE with the support of the NFI,  25 June – 2 July 2023), and picture lock (organised in the Czech Republic 1 – 7 October 2023).

    Production Information:

    Match Frame Productions Kft (Hungary)

    Sound Pictures (Bhutan)

    Directors: Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó
    Scriptwriters: Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó