Jamil: "As refugees we lost everything in the war and try to find a safe life back. When I met Moos at AZC Heerlen where I was staying, she told me about the activities of Foundation the Vrolijkheid and asked me to participate. This word “Happiness” surprised me and incited me to investigate how residents relate to this topic. I was depressed and broken and felt shy towards the children who seemed happy while staying in the centre. Later on, I got to know the word “Gelukzoeker” which surprised me even more. I find it really offensive. We did not have a choice coming here and you cannot blame me."
Moos: "In 2016, when Jamil was staying in the AZC and he expressed his surprise about our name “the Happiness”, I made the remark that this would be a great topic to make a documentary about and handed over our video camera. Jamil also received support from other people like filmmaker Bart in the movie. Five years later, I asked Jamil about those images and we came up with the idea to finish this project, l with children who were staying in the AZC now, and people who stayed with Jamil in the centre and who are now living in society."
Archives and Arts
Jamil: "We actually developed two styles: One consisted of interviews with the children in the azc through an art project developed by Moos, the other one consisted of old images with a handheld camera following up my ways through the AZC to capture the atmosphere and the characters while we talked about “the Happiness”. We did not really have a team besides Moos and me. I was the director and cameraman. Moos was the researcher, content developer and producer".
Moos: "We received funding from CineSud. We sent the filmplan with the concept to CineSud. Already in 2016, CineSud was interested to support Jamil in his development as a filmmaker in the Netherlands and in collaborating with the Vrolijkheid at AZC Heerlen. We only controlled the shooting days in 2021 which were agreed upon with the main characters who had left the azc and with the Vrolijkheid. The shots of the children in the AZC were made during a 6-weeks art project."