HFF 2015 Interview: Happy Times Director/Producer/Co-Writer Luis Javier M. Henaine


Max is a young man involved in a relationship he’s unable to end. After using up all possible resources to break up with his girlfriend, he decides to hire an agency that specializes in ending relationships. However, he realizes there’s no such thing as the perfect solution.

Happy Times is a 2015 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Narrative Feature.

We spoke with Director/Producer/Co-Writer Luis Javier M. Henaine about his film:

HF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

LH: Happy Times is about the difficulty of ending a romantic relationship, a situation most people have been through.

It originated while I was still in college. I had to write a screenplay for a short film and the idea of an agency that specializes in ending relationships came to me, so I wrote it and then filmed it. A couple of years after I graduated, I decided to adapt it into a feature film, since I’d always thought it had the potential of being a movie.

HF: What was your role in the production?

LH: I was the co-writer, producer and director. I’ve been shepherding the project since it’s inception, realizing my vision and seeing it all the way through.

HF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

LH: I never thought that my film could be in the Festival circuit. I always saw it as more of a commercial type of film, release it in the theatres and be done with it, but we started getting invited to Festivals, so I thought I should continue pursuing that. I heard about Heartland Film Festival and it was highly recommended, the awards were very attractive as well, so that’s why I submitted. This is my first time in the Festival.

HF: This year’s tagline is “Movies That Stay with You” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

LH: They will probably be asking about the ending. But in more general terms, I guess they will be reflecting about their own relationships and the things left unsaid.

HF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

LH: Films themselves, I’ve always loved them. The possibilities of film are infinite. So that’s what I wanted to do.

HF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now, but you weren’t told when you started your career?

LH: That it was going to be a very long and difficult process of swimming against the current.

HF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

LH: It’s really difficult to select just a few, but here are the ones at the top: The Big Lebowski, The Royal Tenenbaums, Being John Malkovich, The Graduate, Deconstructing Harry, 2001: A Space Oddysey, Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs, Magnolia, The Day of the Beast.

Very difficult question, but the first one that comes to mind is Doin’ Time, it’s really bad.

HF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

LH: So far it’s been around ten festivals. What I like most about the Festival experience is the contact with the audience, seeing their reaction and answering interesting questions about the film. The possibility of screening your film in different parts of the world to different audiences and being able to see what they think is really gratifying. Plus, Festival audiences are great because they really like films. I also like meeting other filmmakers and sharing experiences.

HF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

LH: I think I’ve been asked pretty much about everything by now. But maybe “How different is the film from the original screenplay?” or “What would you have done different?”

See Happy Times at the 2015 Heartland Film Festival

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