Two months and 60 hours of film turned into a 4:14 song that features the best of Belfast

Belfast premiers homegrown ‘Happy’ video June 13

Posted:  Monday, June 9, 2014 - 12:00pm
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BELFAST — A month ago we told you that Belfast was joining the viral craze of making a video of Pharrell Williams’ smash hit Happy, and created its own rendition of of the globally popular dance hit. Now it's time to see what all the fuss was about.

Belfast Councilor Mike Hurley was behind the idea to get as many people and Belfast locations in a video to Williams’ song and call it: Belfast Maine: We are Happy. The infectious song has swept the planet with cities all over the world doing their versions of Happy,  including Rome, Paris, Tahiti, Hong Kong and every point in between. They was even a Happy in Tehran video before three Iranians got arrested for simply making the video, which infuriated officials because the women in the video didn’t follow the Islamic dress code with their hair covered by a hijab, or headscarf.

With support from Our Town Belfast, the Main Street organization and dozens of underwriters, the Belfast Maine: We are Happy project launched in April. With a team comprised of Insight Productions and Bel-TV 2's filmmaker, Ned Lightner, production and location scheduler Kathy Coleman, director and producer Mike Hurley and production and administrator Mary Jean Crowe, production took place at nearly 100 location shoots with more than 60 hours of filming. “We had good and bad weather, cooperative and uncooperative people, children, animals of all kinds of fur, talented dancers, stiff as a board dancers, uncontrollable extroverts, unwilling introverts dragged blinking into the light with what ended up being an uncountable cast of hundreds,” said Hurley.

“I am the happiest man in Belfast because it’s done,” he added.

The team’s goal was to showcase locations all over Belfast to make the viewer feel like she or he had visited the entire town. The film features people from all walks of life from the highways and back woods to every corner of rural and in-town Belfast. "How long do you think it takes to edit 60 hours of film into a 4:14 song?" asked Lightner repeatedly to his team. It turns out the answer is about 15 hours.

The public is invited to the film’s free premiere Friday June 13 at 3:30 p.m. at The Colonial Theatre in downtown Belfast. Following a brief introduction and Q & A,  short and long versions of the film will run from 3:30 until 5:00 p.m. That same evening and Saturday and Sunday, the films will show on BEL-TV channel 2 and following the weekend the films will go up on YouTube.com.

“If you search YouTube for the various city versions of Happy, each one has viewings in excess of 100,000,” said Hurley. “The only other Happy song done in Maine is the University of Maine at Farmington. It looks like a group of people singing in the hallways. I think ours was pretty ambitious. So, it’s going to be really interesting to see how many views our video gets once it goes online.”

It’s always fun to see people and places you know well up on a theater screen, but there’s going to be one more twist. “We’re going to have a surprise ending that no video version of the song has ever done before,” promised Hurley. Get ready to be happy!


Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com