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Three monks sitting outside a building.

SFFILM Festival

Agent of Happiness

Directed by Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó

Bhutan | Documentary | 94

25 Apr
Thu, Apr 25 at 6:00 pm PT
28 Apr
Sun, Apr 28 at 12:00 pm PT

Guests Expected

Director Arun Bhattarai is expected to attend


Can happiness be measured by points? In a policy woefully simplified by Western media, Bhutan calculates its development by gross national happiness. Embarking on a census-like enterprise, two government officers ask citizens if they are happy. The answer might be yes, if a farmer’s cow gave birth, or no, if a family was denied citizenship. In a journey that is as political as it is personal, people’s revelatory answers lay bare their relationship to Bhutan’s government, its nation state, and monarchy. With stunning cinematography, Agent of Happiness investigates the age-old quest to find the purpose of life—and to derive happiness from fulfilling that purpose.

Director Arun Bhattarai

Arun Bhattarai began his career as television director for Bhutan Broadcasting Service before striking out on his own as an independent filmmaker. He made his feature debut as co-director with Dorottya Zurbó of The Next Guardian (Festival 2018), winner of the best documentary award at the Vilmos Zsigmond Film Festival. His other films include Dreams of Birds Flying in the Sky (2021) and Mountain Man (2022), which captured the best short documentary prize at DOC NYC.

Director Dorottya Zurbó

A native of Budapest, Hungary, Dorottya Zurbó is a teacher at Doc Nomads, as well as a filmmaker. In addition to the two features she co-directed with Arun Bhattarai, she also made Easy Lessons (2018), winner of the Movies that Matter Award and a youth jury special mention at ZagrebDox.

Film Details

Language Nepali, Dzongkha, English

Year 2024

Premiere California

Runtime 94

Country Bhutan/Hungary

Director Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó

Executive Producer Noémi Veronika Szakonyi, Máté Artur Vincze, Arun Bhattarai

Producer Noémi Veronika Szakonyi, Máté Artur Vincze, Arun Bhattarai

Editor Péter Sass

Cinematographer Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó

Closed Captions Closed Captions are not yet confirmed for this program

Audio Description Audio Descriptions are not yet confirmed for this program

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation American Sign Language Interpretation is not currently scheduled for this film