Happy Valley

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Happy Valley

Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary Happy Valley takes an unflinching look at an iconic American institution in the wake of unthinkable scandal. Nestled in the idyllic area known as Happy Valley lies the town of State College and the home of Penn State University. For over 40 years, Joe Paterno was the celebrated head coach of the school’s storied football team. Lauded not only for his program’s success on the field, but also for students’ achievements in the classroom, Paterno was a revered figure in a town where team loyalty approached nationalistic fervor. Then in November 2011 everything changed when longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, setting off a firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children of Happy Valley. Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky’s arrest as key players agreed to share their stories, Happy Valley deconstructs the story we think we know to uncover a much more complicated and tragic tale. Director Bar-Lev creates an indelible portrait of a wounded community and an engrossing investigation into the role big time college football played in both the crimes and their aftermath.

Amir Bar-Lev
Matt Sandusky
Jay Paterno
Suzanne Paterno

“A powerful new documentary. “Happy Valley” has a chilling timeliness.” A.O. SCOTT, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Thorough, thoughtful and heartbreaking." KENNETH TURAN, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“An exceptionally thoughtful, layered and surprising film.” JUSTIN CHANG, VARIETY