The question of what defines happiness has confounded philosophers in the West for centuries, but in Bhutan, determining life satisfaction is a matter of national policy. The country is the only one in the world to measure Gross National Happiness, and the makers of the upcoming documentary “Crossing Bhutan” travelled to the country to discover what that actually means.
Directed by Ben Henretig, narrated and featuring original music by Imogen Heap, the documentary follows four athletes who traverse the country border-to-border on foot and by bike to see how the importance of culture, the environment and various other qualities factor into Bhutan’s identity and to happiness itself. Here’s the synopsis:
Many know Bhutan as the last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom and the only country in the world to use Gross National Happiness as its primary yardstick for progress. Drawn by the allure of this enigmatic kingdom, four veteran athletes attempt an unprecedented human-powered, border-to-border crossing of Bhutan, hoping to experience Bhutan’s policy of “GNH” first hand. When the demands of the grueling 32-day, 485-mile journey push the team beyond their breaking point, they must confront the challenge inherent in walking what Buddhist’s call the Middle Path – embracing the benefits of our fast-paced modern life while still honoring the ancient traditions and values that makes Bhutan so unique.
“Crossing Bhutan” will make its World Premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival on February 5th at 7 PM. Watch below.