When I was young, my grandmother would tell me Persian fairy tales about mythical lakes, talking cockroaches and deserts that stretched miles beyond my imagination. I would put on a ridiculous, shiny nightgown and pretend that I was a princess. Bundled under the covers, I was transported from the homogeneous suburbs of upstate New York to an enchanted castle in Iran. My grandmother’s storytelling inspired me to pursue narrative film, so that I could visually capture the magical experience and share stories that inspire kindness, compassion and love.
Happy Kids tells the story of Meg, an actress who’s trying to stay afloat while being dragged down by looming student loans. I was immediately attracted to Jennifer Plante’s heartfelt and hilarious script because the story sheds light on a dark truth in our society, in a way that’s funny, palatable and relatable. Meg’s story represents the struggle more than forty million Americans face decades after school, while the government profits off of soaring interest rates and sends students down rabbit holes to lower their interest rates.
I love nuanced comedies where I find myself laughing and crying at the same time, and Meg’s story is tragic and hilarious, as she struggles to survive in Los Angeles, taking a job as a children’s party entertainer. Visually, I am thrilled to capture Meg’s candy-colored universe as she sweats it out in a purple dinosaur costume or squeezes herself into Cinderella’s poofy gown as her world spins out of control with 8-year-olds screaming for more animal balloons.
My hope is for this strong, female comedy to raise awareness about the student debt crisis, while also filling the audience with delight and letting people know they are not alone in their struggles, as they watch Meg confront her greatest fears.