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by Alison Willmore
May 23, 2012 12:37 PM
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A&E IndieFilms Producing Doc About Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Director Amir Bar-Lev
A&E's documentary department A&E IndieFilms has signed on to produce "Happy Valley," a nonfiction feature that will focus on "the Penn State University community that was rocked in 2011 by charges of sexual abuse involving former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky."

"My Kid Could Paint That" filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev will direct the film, with John Battsek ("One Day in September") producing -- production is slated to start this month.

"Happy Valley" is a nicknamed used to describe the Pennsylvania State University area. According to Jonathan Koch, the president of the project's production company Asylum Entertainment; "When you are raised in Happy Valley, you feel as though nothing like this could ever happen there. This project has such gravity, importance, and significant personal meaning to me, and I am honored that this extraordinary team of filmmakers has joined me to tell the story."

Bar-Lev and Battsek have worked together before -- Battsek served as executive producer on "My Kid Could Paint That" and as a producer on 2010's "The Tillman Story," both of which also came through A&E IndieFilms. A&E's most recent doc, Paul Simon film "Under African Skies," premieres on the network this Friday.

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4 Comments

  • bob hawk | May 26, 2012 2:57 AMReply

    One head-shaking aspect of this story is the question as to why assistant coach Mike McQueary, who says he saw Sandusky sodomizing a ten-year-old boy in the shower, didn't go right in there and "break it up" so to speak. Any fear or embarrassment he might have felt in what would certainly be a very awkward and difficult confrontation should have been over-ridden by his responsibility to protect the boy from any further abuse. And, to boot, McQueary waited until THE NEXT DAY (!) to report it to Paterno. Jeez . . . I hope that Amir in some way addresses this appalling part of the story, and what it might have to say about the extreme discomfort some males have in dealing with such a situation at all.

  • Bob | February 6, 2014 1:55 PM

    I know I wouldn't want to roll around with a wet naked former linebacker if I was in his shoes, However I do agree with you on the Next day thing. I would have called the authorities immediately.

  • Jim | May 24, 2012 9:17 AMReply

    Wikipedia defines non fiction as the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be factual. The media has all but ignored the "factual" aspect of this series of events in the reporting choosing headline appeal and ratings over due process and truths, so it is hoped that A&E chooses to produce a documentary that will be based on actual facts. The media frenzy at Penn State started with a grand jury report issued on Nov 11, 2011. That report alleged that one assault took place March 1, 2002 but new filings indicate that investigators have now concluded the alleged attack took place around Feb. 9, 2001. Just one instance of non factual information assumed to be correct and we know there will be more as this evolves, so A&E needs to chose whether to run without the due process afforded all citizens or to wait until we have allowed the legal system to run its course. Please take a course few media outlets care to follow and allow the inalienable rights of all involved to be respected.

  • Stacie | May 24, 2012 6:48 AMReply

    I only ask that the film makers investigate every complex angle about this tragedy. Most notably Jerry Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile and it's connection to Tom Corbett. Why did then attorney general allow three years to elapse for this investiga
    tion? Could it be the illustrious aspiring governor needed campaign funds from Second Mile board members? Just why did it take so long? Penn State And Joe Paterno was a convenient vehicle for Corbett to set up in this monstrous way. Just recently in the same county another individual was charged



    with over 300 counts of sex crimes against children. That process took, I believe, around 4 months to bring charges. There's something very rotten about how the AG's office handled things, and I'm fairly convinced Corbett had his own personal agenda against Penn State. This does not excuse Jerry Sandusky should he be convicted of the charges finally brought against him. But, how dare Mr. Corbett and his appointee police commissioner and his appointee AG accuse Coach Paterno of not meeting his moral obligation when he, in fact, referred his third hand knowledge to appropriate authorities as per school policy. And please, do not manufacture twisted meaning around Joe Paterno's "with the benefit of hindsight" comment. It seems as though too many media outlets have misquoted him and have no understanding of the meaning of hindsight. For, knowing what I know now, and with the benefit of hindsight I would have stopped the terror attacks on 9/11. Additionally, please delve into the sitting trustees at the time of the media firestorm (there are now four new ones), and take a look at the business connections and back scratching that is going on with our board. In a typical year, 10-15 people run for alumni seats. Clearly alumni are disgusted with the way our board handled things. Please be responsible and uncover the facts about this case--not just what will sell the most salacious story.