Set on a snowy, Norwegian mountainside, HAPPY, HAPPY – a World Cinema Jury Prize winner at this year’s festival – tells the story of Kaja, a wife and mother who eagerly seeks friendship in Elisabeth and Sigve, the exciting (they adopted an Ethiopian boy!) and precariously tall couple coming to live in their guest house. Kaja’s obvious longing for affection is due in large part to the negligence of her husband, a latent homosexual whose “hunting excursions” and weird, outdoor Tee-Pee of Solitude – called a “lavoo” in Norwegian – ain’t fooling nobody. Soon, Kaja’s need to please bumps up (literally) against Sigve’s desire to be taken seriously by his wife, whose dalliances back in the city instigated their move to the mountain in the first place. A few sweaty rolls on the floor later and a couple-swap has taken place. Oh, and there’s some really messed up stuff going on with the kids, one of whom tries to “enslave” the other by beating him with a wet dish towel.
For the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, 121 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 14 North American premieres and 12 U.S. premieres representing 25 countries with 55 first-time filmmakers, including 23 in the non-competition categories. These films were selected from 3,624 feature film submissions composed of 2,021 U.S. and 1,603 international feature-length films. These numbers represent an increase from last year when 1,852 U.S. and 1,435 international feature-length films were considered.