It’s a film about farming, yoga, nature, relationships and happiness, just to name a few.
“A Small, Good Thing,” directed by Pamela Tanner Boll, is about many things, which combined address the question, “What does it mean to live a good life?”
Completed in spring 2015, the feature-length documentary will be screened in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 29, at 2:15 p.m. at the Leonardo Museum and will be available for purchase later this summer.
Several years ago after finishing another documentary, Boll noticed that money and resources didn’t always lead to living a happy or a good life, so she began researching the science of happiness.
“Less that 40 percent of our happiness is due to our circumstances,” Boll said. “The rest is how we approach our circumstances. So we have more power over our sense of well-being than we think. I thought that was worth making a movie about.”
The film follows the lives of six people who are making the most of their circumstances in western Massachusetts. Sean Stanton and Pete and Jen Salinetti are farmers; Tim Durrin is a social-work student; Mark Gerow teaches yoga, and Shirley Edgerton is a community activist and founder of both the Youth Alive Step Team and the Women of Color Giving Circle, according to the documentary's website. The film took about three years to complete.
One of the major themes of the documentary is the importance of connections. According to Boll, people need three connections to be happy: a deeper connection to community, a deeper connection to nature and a deeper connection to oneself.
“We forget these things," Boll said. "We’re so busy with our work and our productivity, but actually if you can remember these things, your productivity in your own life goes up.”
In addition, Boll emphasized the importance of finding a purpose to be happy and live a good life.
“The happiest people are those who work really, really hard at the things that they feel matter to themselves, to their communities, to the planet,” she said. “We live better when we have a sense of why we are here.”
Boll said she hopes viewers will reflect on their own lives and make small changes to improve their lives — whether it’s spending a little more time in nature, leaving a little more time for people or taking public transportation to work instead of driving.
“You don’t have to change your work. You don’t have to go live on a farm. You could be in the middle of an incredibly busy career," Boll said. "But it doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes to play.”
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