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Hundreds at Golden Life express happiness

 Screen shots from the Golden Life video “Happy,” which launches on YouTube today. - Courtesy Golden Life
Screen shots from the Golden Life video “Happy,” which launches on YouTube today.
— image credit: Courtesy Golden Life

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 is being launched today, Friday, July 11.

Golden Life, a seniors' housing, care and service provider in the region, is 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 would involve hundreds of seniors and staff dancing along and acting out joyously for the cameras while the song played.

Golden Life operates 12 seniors housing sites across southern B.C. and Alberta, with about 1,300 residents in total, and Elliott and the video crew visited them all — including the newly opened site in Calgary. "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 at)?"

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. Since most of the clips are group shots, the video involves hundreds of seniors and Golden Life staff, dancing and emoting to this catchiest, happiest of songs. 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.

"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 was made available to each of Golden Life's facilities, and will be shown on the facilities' big screen theatres.

The video launches today, Friday, July 11,  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.

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