Hundreds of seniors in southern B.C. and Alberta have given the world a definition of happiness, thanks to a globally popular song and a video that was launched on Friday, July 11th.
Golden Life, a seniors’ housing, care and service provider in the region, has releasing a video dub showing residents and staff expressing their inner happiness to the accompaniment of “Happy,” a hugely successful song by American singer Pharrell Williams.
The idea for the video came from Landon Elliott, a marketing director with Golden Life, after he noted that the song had been licensed by the United Nations for the International Day of Happiness, so that different versions could be created in different nations and cultures, expressing the happiness and joy that the song represents.
“I thought it would be really interesting to see how our residents and staff expressed happiness,” Elliott said. Golden Life set about securing the licensing rights for their own video, which involves hundreds of seniors and staff dancing along and acting out joyously for the cameras while the song plays.
Golden Life operates 12 seniors housing sites across southern B.C. and Alberta with about 1,300 residents in total. Elliott and the video crew visited them all — including Columbia Garden Village in Invermere. “A lot of driving,” he said.
The whole process of making the film took a month. Jason Beauchene, of Cranbrook’s Audiotomic Video Production, did the videography and editing.
“We went to all the sites — two a week” Elliott said. “I brought a boom box, gathered residents and staff together, and asked, what’s it like to be happy at (whichever site the crew was filming).”
Elliott said he led the way by dancing along behind the camera, but the subjects in front of the camera set to with gusto.
“We gave the option for every senior to participate — not everybody did,” he said.
But hundreds of seniors did participate. “We came away with between 600 and 800 clips,” Elliott said.
“But we only had the licensing for four minutes. So we had to edit it down to about 130 clips.”
Those 130 clips were edited into a brisk four minute video — a portrait of Golden Life residents, staff and happiness. All aspects of life at Golden Life are captured, from the kitchens at Joseph Creek Village in Cranbrook to the Senior Prom at Castlewood Village Castlegar.
Columbia Garden Village in Invermere — one of the 12 Golden Life communities — was visited by the crew in late June.
“There was really good response,” said Columbia Garden Village administrative assistant Kate Bennett.
She said the filming was done primarily inside, with residents gathering in different rooms, walking down halls, and sitting together in activity rooms. Out of the 100 or so residents, she said four or five appear in the final version.
“I think it’s lovely, residents really enjoyed it,” Bennett said. “They were shy at first, but once we got them going, they were excited about it.”
“We’ve given people a chance to get up on stage, show off, and show people what happiness is,” Elliott said.
While the published version of the video is only four minutes long, an extended version was created, so that every person who participated in the video could have some screen time. The extended version has been made available to each of Golden Life’s facilities, and will be shown on the facilities’ big screen theatres.
The video launched on Friday, July 11th on Golden Life’s website and YouTube. To view the video, go to goldenlife.ca. At the bottom of the webpage is a banner, which when you click on it will direct you to the video.
— With files from Nicole Trigg