Tuesday, June 7, 2022

HAPPY F’K’IN SUNSHINE” TO MAKE WORLD PREMIERE AT DANCES WITH FILMS, FRIDAY JUNE 10, 2022. Janeane speaks with Jonathan Hblika, Connor Rueter, Maxime Lauzon about their roles in this film and more!


Full-length comedy feature from Other Animal Entertainment

part of lineup at 25th Anniversary of Dances With Films Festival, June 9-19, 2022

HOLLYWOOD - June 1, 2022 -- A foul-mouth comedy about a struggling metal band, “HAPPY F’K’IN SUNSHINE'' will have its world premiere on Friday June 10th at 9:30PM at this year’s DANCES WITH FILMS, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the internationally-acclaimed film festival. All films will play at the legendary TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood.

Directed by Derek Diorio, written by Ryan Keller and J. Gordon Ross and produced by Keller, “HAPPY F’K’IN SUNSHINE'' tells the story of Ronnie Weston and her brother Will who live in a one mill town. When the mill workers go on strike, the future for their family looks bleak. Fortunately, Ronnie has found a brisk business selling weed. When Will wants to start a band, Ronnie uses her weed profits to buy Will an electric guitar. Against everyone's advice, Will enlists local outcast Artie Porter as the bass player. Artie spends his days allegedly partying with heavy metal icons and getting fellatio from rock and roll legends - or so he says. Artie’s lies cause instant conflict within the band, especially with Vince, the egotistical lead singer. But the musical chemistry is undeniable, and Will feels that his band just might hit the big time. If they can survive their dying town…and each other.

In the comic spirit of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Metalhead,” the 98-minute dramedy stars Matt Close, Mattea Brotherton, Dana Hodgson, Connor Rueter, and Maxime Lauzon.

“Working with these phenomenal young performers has been one of the highlights of my career” says director Derek Diorio, “Seeing their raw talent bring the story to life on screen was inspiring.” “Growing up in a small industrial town, and knowing this life firsthand, it was very important to me that every actor brought an authentic voice to these characters,” says Ryan Keller. “I was stunned by their performances.”

“HAPPY F’K’IN SUNSHINE'' will screen on Friday, June 10 at 9:30 PM at the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the DWF website at https://danceswithfilms.com/happy-fkin-sunshine/ and clicking the Buy Tickets icon. All tickets are $18 if purchased prior to June 9; thereafter tickets are $20. Parking is readily available at the Hollywood & Highland complex, $3 for the first 4 hours (validated at the theater) or $18 maximum for the day.

For more information on the film or to arrange an interview with the principal creators, please contact Deborah Gilels, LA Media Consultants at 818-758-6509 or email ddgilels@prodigy.net.

Happy FKIN Sunshine principle cast and crew:

Matt Close as Will

Mattea Brotherton as Ronnie

Dana Hodgson as Artie

Connor Rueter as Vince

Maxime Lauzon as River

Bridget Graham as Danielle

Aubrey Rand as Taylor

Lewis Hodgson as Frank

Lisa Boivin as Loraine

Directed by Derek Diorio

Written by Ryan Keller & J. Gordon Ross

Produced by Ryan Keller

Executive Producers Jonathan Hlibka & Terry E. Markus

Director of Photography Clement Lush

Production Designer Stephanie Avery

Happy FKIN Sunshine: Creator Statement

Happy FKIN Sunshine is a story about the last chapter in the life cycle of an industrial town told through the eyes of the town’s working-class youth. Northern Ontario and Manitoba are littered with small towns that sprung up around pulp and paper mills in the heyday of the mid-late 20th century forestry industry. People flocked to these towns on the promise of stable high paying jobs and a real future for themselves and their children. But the economy changed in the 1990’s and many mills began closing. Suddenly, many of the children of the millworkers found themselves without the chance of the bright future that their parents once thought they had.

The plot of Happy F’K’IN Sunshine is simple: Will and Ronnie, the teenage children of a millworker, start their first band while the mill is on strike and the town’s entire economy is collapsing. Music is their refuge. Inspired by the band’s chemistry and their growing popularity on social media, they increasingly see music as the path to a life otherwise unattainable. Thematically, the film is a character drama about music’s power to provide comfort and a sense of purpose in otherwise impossible circumstances.

The entirety of the soundtrack of the film is music that the characters listen to and the music that they make as a band. It is a rich blend of punk, country, rock, and metal ranging from the 1970’s to contemporary pieces. The songs the band performs are entirely original and were written for the film. When the band plays their music the audience experiences the same sense of sanctuary as the characters. Cinematographer Clement Lush and writer/producer Ryan Keller spent a large part of their careers working together filming bands for documentaries, music videos, and television and drew upon the repertoire of strategies to realistically convey the connection among musicians that arises through the act of making music.

It was incredibly important to the filmmaking team that all details, from the dialogue and locations to the background performers, felt authentically like Northern Ontario. Hence, the film was shot entirely on location in North Bay, Ontario. To further capture the authenticity of the story, the actors playing the band and their relatives are Northern Ontarians. The adult characters are played by an ensemble of industry veterans recognizable from numerous film and television productions. The younger cast are newcomers who were found through an extensive casting process and who worked under the guidance of director Derek Diorio to create powerful debut performances.

Dances With Films HFS page https://danceswithfilms.com/happy-fkin-sunshine/

Tickets: https://danceswithfilms.ticketspice.com/dwf25-happy-fkin-sunshine

About director Derek Diorio

Derek Diorio has written, produced and directed hundreds of hours of dramatic, animated, documentary and live-action television programming and feature films starring the likes of Ernest Borgnine, Eli Wallach, Graham Greene, Michael Moriarty and Terri Garr. From 2012 to 2018 he co-created and co-wrote four seasons of the critically acclaimed drama series Hard Rock Medical.

His work as a writer has earned him many international awards, including a Cable Ace Award in the U.S., a Banff Television Festival Award and three Gemini nominations in Canada. He moved his family and production company to North Bay in 2018 and is an active Producer promoting Northern crews and talent.

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