HAPPY: The Documentary

Please Watch This Very Important UPDATE!

And at long last, here's your SNEAK PEEK at HAPPY!

Hello Contributing Producers!

First of all, let me state the obvious, which is that this film could never have been made without each and every single one of you! Your support of this project has been truly been a lifeline, and I am so very grateful to all of you. Secondly, I am pleased to announce that HAPPY is just mere days from being finished! On Tuesday we'll be making some last minute tweaks in the editing room, and then HAPPY gets sent off to Los Angeles for "sound proofing".

Many of you have wondered how we were able to get the film finished without meeting our fundraising goal. Well, let me share with you the good fortune... When it came time to start post production, a friend of mine was kind enough to loan me some money so that we could at least get started. Once we dove in and started knitting it all together,  my amazing editor Derek became truly impassioned by the project, and Derek decided that the film needed to be finished NOW, rather than waiting until we raised enough money to complete it. And so, we charged full steam ahead- for 2 months!

Because of those generous and extraordinary circumstances...On July 16th, HAPPY will have its World Premiere at the Historic Imperial Theater in Augusta, Georgia! This special one night only screening, is doing double-duty as a fundraising event, with 100% of the ticket proceeds going towards the remaining post production debts.

The Go Fund Me page is going to remain active for awhile, as we still need to raise funds for the film festival circuit. The submission fee for most festivals is on average $75.00, and we have our eyes on about 75 festivals over the next year. The first handful of festival submission deadlines are coming up around the middle of July, and this initial list includes: Toronto International, London Lift Off, Telluride, Sydney Lift Off, and the Los Angeles Independent Filmmakers Showcase. Needless to say, I am thrilled that our film is ready in time for these deadlines!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Summer so far, and I am so looking forward to celebrating with many of you, the night of the premiere....WE MADE IT HAPPEN!

With Sincere Gratitude, Michael


Hello! My name is Michael Patrick McKinley, Producer/Director of HAPPY.

Based on the life of Visual Artist Leonard "Porkchop" Zimmerman and his HAPPY campaign, this is the story of one man's transformational journey through the storm, and his desire to share the sunshine he found on the other side of it. 

Through the incredible support and generosity of 140 people, we were able to successfully raise nearly  $14,000.00 during our first campaign! These funds enabled us to start production on HAPPY in Septemberof 2015. A second round of filming took place in November, and  we finally wrapped up principal photgraphy the second week of February. Post production will begin shortly, with an early Summer completeion goal!

If you're familiar with our efforts, thank you for your interest and welcome back! If you're new here, then read on...


On November 21st, we filmed a parade sequence with 200 extras and performers!

For obvious reasons, I'm sometimes hesitant to say "I had an epiphany to make this film." But that's exactly how it went down. In my Las Vegas hotel room, at 6:30 am, before I could even find a cup of coffee to process what I had heard my inner voice tell me I should do! A moment so powerful, a directive so clear with intention, I had no choice but to honor it.

In 2014, Leonard was a speaker atTedx Telfair Street. This moving video (12 minutes) is how I originally became familiar with Leonard's story, and it is ultimately the inspiration for this film, my desire to expand the story beyond, and do my part in propagating the smiles!

Happy Budgets, Happy Hours, and Happy Meals!

Because this film is about an artist (and will be teeming with art in many mediums) it's of the utmost importance to both myself (as director) and the director of photography that the finished product, every frame, be nothing shy of GORGEOUS. The primary camera (and lenses) chosen will ensure state of the art digital cinematography. Equipment and production costs comprise a total of 58% of our total budget.  

To acquire the extensive interviews required to tell this story in full, 3 trips will be made to Georgia, with location shooting in Augusta, Savannah, and Atlanta. Air travel, lodgings, and meals (To ensure our stamina!) make up another 28% piece of the pie.

Once the film is completed, it's initial audience will be found on the Film Festival circuit. There are more than 2 dozen important festivals (and more beyond those) that are worth submitting to. Nearly all of them require a submission fee, and those add up pretty quickly! These fees, and other marketing expenses make up the final 14% slice. Once HAPPY makes it's way through the circuit, the film will be available for purchase through Digital Download and on DVD.

During our first campaign and subsequent rounds of filming, we received some very kind, and much appreciated press. If you would like to help promote this campaign, please feel free to contact me! Meanwhile, peruse these lovely pieces on our efforts to get HAPPY made:

The Augusta Chronicle
Metro Spirit


Of course it is my sincere wish that this film touch and inspire people, but that's but one component of my motivation. The HAPPY campaign creates "statements of positivity", through visual impact, wherever it's implemented. Whether it's on a button, a bumper, or a billboard. You pretty much have no choice but to smile when confronted when HAPPY...so shouldn't there be more of it?

Once the film is able to produce a profit, 50% of these monies will go right back into the HAPPY campaign, to produce more buttons, more stickers, and more BILLBOARDS- hopefully from coast to coast. Times Square, here we come!

 Can you Imagine? We can.

You Can Help Pay The HAPPY Forward!
Are you excited about seeing this story come to life on the big screen? Share our Facebook page! Tweet about the film. Heck,Tweet this page! 


Donations (0)

  • Lene Beier 
    • $10 
    • 28 mos
  • Mads Beier 
    • $10 
    • 28 mos
  • Chris Harrison 
    • $10 
    • 35 mos
  • Chris Harrison 
    • $10 
    • 36 mos
  • Chris Harrison 
    • $10 
    • 37 mos
See all


Michael Patrick McKinley 
Milwaukee, WI
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