Happy Birthday


This hour-long film takes the viewer on an extraordinary journey through each of the turning points of our life cycle.

In a series of unique short films, fading in and out, our ten characters are captured through vignettes on their birthdays. Beginning with a birth and ending with a Centenarian survivor of the Armenian genocide, it examines the extraordinary ebb and flow of life.

Each Birthday provides us a unique window into an individual; it’s a day to celebrate with family and friends, but also a day to take stock of where we are- and where we are going. It’s a time of cakes and presents, and of self-reflections and examination. You will see yourself in these films, as a child, teenager or in the elderly person you may become.

A toddler looks around with wonder at this big world he has entered into, while an eight-year-old has already invented a world of her own. A fifteen-year-old understands that she may not live a long life and a twenty-one year old believes anything is possible. A thirty-year old woman searches for someone to spend the rest of her life with as fifty-year old man comes to terms with his role as an outsider. A retired accountant defies gravity with his longtime dance and a native elder is remembered by the people who love her.

Their stories are simultaneously unique and universal; they are incomplete and leave us with a sense of wonder and, depending on our age, we remember, recognize or look ahead. Happy Birthday is a lyrical documentary, a love song to life in all its wondrous phases.


1 x 40 minuntes


Director: Karen MacKenna
Co-Director: Stefan Randström
Writer: Karen MacKenna
Editor: Steve Weslak
Director of Photography: John Tran
Composers: Leah Salomaa and Chris Gartner