© Jack Kukolic 2020 - All Rights Reserved

Hit by Happiness - A Short Film

When it comes to youth today, mental health is finally coming to light and we are seeing the effects that it has on people.  In my film, the story of Luke and his struggle with mental health will hopefully inspire people to support mental health in their communities and remind those who struggle with mental health issues to talk about it. Talking will help and it is a very important aspect of healing.

 

Hit by Happiness is the story of 15-year-old Lukas Edridge, known as Luke, in the summer of Grade 9.  Luke who lives alone with his father, is suffering from depression and with every passing day is feeling degraded since he has no family or friends to support him.  This leads Luke to visit his mother's memorial for the first time since the train accident which ended her life when he was young.  While at the memorial, to his surprise, in the middle of the woods he meets a girl about his age named Cici.  At first, he is conflicted about Cici but eventually comes to realize she was always meant to help him.

Director's Notes

by Jack Kukolic

Hit by Happiness was a technical challenge for both myself and the rest of our crew.  The development of the script was based on a short project about youth mental health which I began writing in September of 2017 called Photograph: A Kid with a Camera and a Dream.  With hopes of premiering at the 2018 Willson Oakville Film Festival.  Eventually, this project morphed into a completely new and improved storyboard with the title being Me, Just Me.  This is where Hit by Happiness began to take shape.  After the first version of the script was completed, I realized the title was not speaking to me.  In the final edit of the script, we decided to change the name to what it is now, Hit by Happiness.  The filming process took place over three days on our summer break mid-August.  We filmed on a tight schedule between people's vacations, and other's heading off to university.  Although much of the process was new to many of us, with careful preparation we were able to pull off an elaborate short film including scenes like the one where Luke finds himself in a sticky situation with a train.   

Over the three days of filming, we filmed in two main locations which were the outdoor shots at a conservation area as well as the indoor shots in a house in Mississauga that we were given the amazing opportunity to borrow and use for the shoot of Hit by Happiness.  During the first day we went all the way out to the location and filmed the first half of the day.  When we went to return later that day the creek had overflown from heavy rainfall blocking our only path back to the location.  The actors and crew made it work, quickly making arrangements to ensure they could come back the next day as they understood the tight schedule.  When we were working out of both these locations it was our first time on location with the actors and they pulled through giving us amazing performances under every circumstance.  Due to time constraints as well as budget we recorded this entire film using very little equipment in addition to an extremely small crew usually consisting of the bare minimum each day.

Hit by Happiness was a learning experience for both I as the writer, director and editor of the film as well as our actors who ranged from working on film sets to never stepping in front of a camera before and only being involved in live theatre performances.  The cast and crew were all local to Oakville and Mississauga and they were the people who made this film possible.  I cannot thank them enough.  They poured in hours in the summer heat to make this film a reality both for themselves and to help add to the awareness of mental health in youth all over the world. 

 

 Hit by Happiness is currently scheduled to Premiere in Ontario, Canada in June 2019.  We plan to show it at multiple film festivals both within and outside of Canada in the following year and the possibility of some small screening events at local theatres.