Please Be Happy is a short documentary by Turkish queer filmmaker Elif Gonen, exploring the varying relationship dynamics within three families on the intersection of parenthood and queerness. Taking the viewer into the intimate real-life environment of its subjects, the film challenges what we consider to be 'traditional' family life.
Whether it's due to estrangement, or from the need of a 2nd family in order to become one's true authentic self, many people on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum have had to create their own unique families. Yet, the actual nuances of dealing with the dynamics of queerness within your given family and how to work through those conversations with your parents/children, have had limited space in the mainstream. Instead what we are now witnessing, is a growing anti-LGBTQ movement, whose rhetoric is explicit in defining marriage exclusively as 'the union between a
man and a woman', what will this mean for queer families in the future?
Gonen says: I was born and raised in Turkey, where “family values" are one of the most important aspects of its culture, and yet I’d always struggled to find any representation of an alternative family dynamic that I’d like to create for myself as a queer woman. I found myself questioning more and more what elements comprise a 'family' and why queer people have such limited family planning options. I wanted to find different families with queer individuals, and document a day in their life to demonstrate how different it can be compared to a traditional family setting. Throughout my documentation, I realised all the 'alternative' families I’d interviewed were coming to the same conclusion about what mattered most to them on their journey to parenthood. It was their children's happiness and the ability to show their authentic selves, above anything else. For me that was what made them a family.
Directed by @elifgonen
Producer @ailsa.aikoa & @elifgonen
Executive Producer @mazzaraja @no.chiefs
1st AC / Focus Puller @milobrownmilobrown
2nd AC / Loader @jade_sievewright
Soundtrack Roja & @lavalarue
Special thanks to @erehwon_film & @sanderson_ben & @transonscreen