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‘Happy Family’ is quirky comedy that reminds us to be careful what we wish for


Happy Happy 1One of the short films screened on Friday at the Second Annual Bonita Springs International Film Festival was Happy Family.

Happy Family is a quirky comedy about a mature, childless woman named Joy who, after hearing her friends endlessly brag about their children, convinces her husband to adopt. When they approach an agency about adoption, they discover they are disqualified by their age from adopting a child, but for an additional fee of $10,000, they can adopt an adult child. It’s better, the social worker tells them, Happy Happy 2because this way they don’t need to worry about changing diapers or the awkward teenage years. Plus, they and their potential adult son or daughter could meet and decide if this is right for them!

But be careful for what you wish for because things don’t work out quite as they expected. And as it turns Judy Copeland 02out, Joy’s friends are not as happy with their children as they’d like everyone to think they are.

Although the screenplay was written by Mark Stolzenberg, Judy Copeland provided the storyline and stars in the film.

“Happy Family was inspired by several of my friends in the Women’s Cultural Alliance,” Judy told the BIFF audience during Friday afternoon’s Q & A. “They were having a conversation about their children and I had nothing to add because I didn’t have any children. Afterwards, one of the women came up to me and said, ‘I forget that you don’t have children and I hope we weren’t being Copeland and Alexander 02terribly insensitive.’ Bells immediately started going off in my head, and I realized there was a film in that comment. Plus, I had lost my mother and my favorite aunt, and I did see that my family was shrinking while my friends’ families were getting older and bigger, and that’s how this film came about.”

Copeland was an actor years ago but gave it up because she couldn’t bear to waitress one more day. Like many aspiring actresses, she got a real job and established a career Alexander, Copeland and Mark Schulman 04outside of film and stage. But after she retired to Florida, she decided to go back to what she really loved doing. Since then, she’s been in several films, including Sisters (2015) and I Love You Now Die (2014). She also stars in another BIFF entry, The Bright Side, written and directed by Eric H. Alexander, and recently completed work on Talk to Me, which is in post-production.

Alexander, Copeland and Mark Schulman 02In addition to Copeland, Happy Family includes Beth-Ann Borensweig, Sandra Clopp, Danielle Dastis, Helen Mandlin, Rachel Rivera, Annette Silva, Mark Stolzenberg,  Antonina Vasilyeva, and Vinit Dubey. Mark Schulman served as executive producer, with Copeland and Mark Stolzenberg acting as co-producers. Stolzenberg also directed. Bright Side writer and director Eric Alexander was cinematographer.

BIFF Poster 2January 28, 2017.



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