The Irish comedy feature ‘How to be Happy’, starring Brian Gleeson, has won the Best International Narrative Feature award at the Garden State Film Festival in New Jersey.

The film has just begun its international festival run having its international premiere at the Chicago Irish Film Festival. Domestically, it has already screened to sell out audiences at the Cork Film Festival, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and the Galway Film Fleadh.

The comedy stars Gleeson (The Stag, Standby, Snow White and the Huntsman) and Gemma-Leah Devereux (Stitches, Casualty) in the lead roles, and tells the story of Cormac, a marriage guidance counsellor who starts sleeping with his clients in a misguided attempt to find love and Flor, a private detective hired to investigate him. Other cast members include Stephen Mullan (Out of Here), Carrie Crowley (Earthbound, Rásaí na Gaillimhe), Brian Fortune (Game of Thrones, Savage), Laura Way (Anton, Opus K), Rebekah Wainwright (The Tudors), Lesley Conroy (Mattie, Life’s a Breeze), Steve Gunn (Titanic: Blood and Steel), Geraldine McAlinden (Portrait of a Zombie) and Lesa Thurman (Quirke).

‘How To Be Happy’ was directed by Mark Gaster, Brian O’Neill and Michael Rob Costine, produced by Richard Bolger and David Brady, and written by Conor Horgan (100 Mornings) as part of Filmbase’s innovative Digital Feature Film Production master’s programme.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Filmbase, who run the programme in Dublin in association with Staffordshire University, said: “It’s an incredible achievement for first-time filmmakers to make a feature film as part of a course. As a launching pad for both the film and the careers of those involved we really couldn’t have asked for better.” The film be shot over three weeks in Dublin in March 2013 and the production was crewed by the filmmakers that make up the masters programme.

Speaking about the Garden State award, co-director Gaster said: “We are delighted with the award. The film is already getting a great reception from audiences and it is this sort of recognition that is really helpful in getting it a wider general release”.

Other winners at the Garden State Film Festival included Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) winner of the Independent Spirit Award, Bebe Neuwirth (The Good Wife) for the Wave of Excellence Award and Franklin Ojeda Smith (Boardwalk Empire) won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

‘How To Be Happy’ is currently in talks for international distribution. The trailer for the film can be viewed below:


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