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Happy Face

Canada 2018
produced by
Stéphane Gérin-Lajoie, Alexandre Franchi, Ester Velasco (executive) for Les Films de la Mancha, Line & Content
directed by Alexandre Franchi
starring Robin L'Houmeau, Debbie Lynch-White, David Roche, E.R. Ruiz, Alison Midstokke, Cyndy Nicholsen, Noémie Kocher, Rosalie Julien, Romy Gendelmen, Sarvie Sage, Mattias Lucas, Dean Perseo, Paul Zinno, Rachel Schmidt, Paul Batah, Lorraine Coulter, Dawn Shaw, Pierre Rivet, Daniel Boloten, Keith Widgington, Dinh S. Nguyen, Pauline Beal, Monique Savoie, Anna Beanland, Keith Waterfield, Edith Kuper, Andrew Oster, Mélanie Leduc, Madelline Harvey, Zach Fenlon, Vincent Bellefleur, Alessanbdro Russotti, Nadia Rona, Chris Price
idea by Alexandre Franchi, screenplay by Joelle Bourjolly, Alexandre Franchi, music by Gabriel Scotti

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Vanessa (Debbie Lynch-White), a woman suffering from obesity, runs a support group for disfigured people, but only with moderate succes: While she's got all the theory down and manages to get her group members to open up to one another, when she takes them out into the "real world" to bolster their self confidense, this only leads to disaster, with only one of them, Stan (Robin L'Houmeau), managing to stand up for the lot of them when he empties a trash can in a restaurant they were treated poorly in. But then she finds out Stan isn't disfigured at all but only faking it, and despite his assurances that his motives for joining the group were sincere, she expels him. It's only eventually that he convinces her he didn't mean no harm but joined the group to feel closer to his mother (Noémie Kocher), who's slowly consumed by cancer and thus is actually disfigured for life. The other group members (David Roche, E.R. Ruiz, Alison Midstokke, Cyndy Nicholson) are actually very much in favour of keeping Stan with the group, as he's the most in touch with the "real" world, and thus Vanessa's actually willing to hand over some of the command over to him - and with a combination of things he has learned from The Man from La Mancha and the boardgame Dungeons & Dragons, he manages to give the group some self confidence they've so desparately needed. Thing is, he hasn't been quite honest to them, and has actually just as many hang-ups facing his problems (this being caring for his mother) as they have, and when that's found out it might jeopardize everything he has achieved both for the group and his own mindset ...


A very compelling drama that despite being very specific in its story is bound to ring true with everyone, as at the core it's about self acceptance and self confidence, and about finding one's place in the "real world", so really universal topics. And that the movie comes to life so beautifully is that despite the gravity of the subject it chooses a light-footed approach, one that even allows glimpses of humour, while emphasizing the humane aspects of its story, and giving its out-of-the-norm protagonists much dignity in the process - which really makes this a very likeable and rather remarkable film.


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD