2014 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Amir Bar-Lev’s Happy Valley


Not to be confused with the Pacino feature project of the same name and subject, Amir Bar-Lev who made a name for himself with Sundance preemed docs presented My Kid Could Paint That (2007) and The Tillman Story (2010), signed onto A&E IndieFilms’ documentary project in May of 2012. Besides contributing to the 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief docu, there hasn’t been much in terms of developments beyond a brief update by the filmmaker himself, but I’m thinking A&E IndieFilms will want to have this delivered while it’s still hot.

Gist: The children of “Happy Valley” were victimized for years, by a key member of the legendary Penn State college football program. But were Jerry Sandusky’s crimes an open secret? With rare access, director Amir Bar-Lev delves beneath the headlines to tell a modern American parable of guilt, redemption, and identity.

Production Co./Producers: Passion Pictures’ John Battsek and Amir Bar-Lev. Exec producers Bob DeBitetto, David McKillop and Molly Thompson.

Prediction: U.S. Documentary Competition

U.S. Distributor: A&E IndieFilms owns the television rights, not sure how this affects theatrical.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, editor-in-chief and film critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric splits his time between his home base in Montreal, NYC, and is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (La Promesse), Haneke (Caché), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry), Lynch (Mulholland Dr.), Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), von Trier (Breaking the Waves)


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  2. Pandaczar12

    December 10, 2013 at 7:13 am

    “after it was learned school officials covered up allegations that former Nittany Lions assistant football”

    Not sure where it was learned…. since the school officials have not had their trials yet. (Freeh’s opinion piece doesn’t count) I suggest you call their prosecutors if you have evidence of a cover up. Otherwise you might want to revisit the entire film if you can’t get the most basic aspect of the case correct. All we actually know for a fact is from the lead Sandusky Prosecutor, Frank Fina, who has said there is “No Evidence Paterno Participated in Coverup”.


      December 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      I suggest you call their prosecutors because Fina said “CONSPIRACY”. Why do all of you JoePed supporters not hear what Fina really said? You don’t know the facts at all! LMAO!

      • RevealTheFacts

        January 5, 2014 at 7:34 pm

        When asked whether he believed JoePa was involved in a coverup, Fina said, “I’m speaking just about the evidence….I DID NOT FIND THAT EVIDENCE.” That is what he said.

        • Sockratease

          January 16, 2014 at 9:33 pm

          Why do so many of you lie about what Fina was asked and how he responded? The exact question was: “Do you believe that Coach Paterno was a part of the CONSPIRACY to conceal – to cover up the crimes at Penn State by Jerry Sandusky?”
          Fina’s response was: ” I do not. And — and I’m viewing this strictly on the evidence, not any kind of fealty to anybody. I did not find the evidence.” It should be noted that Fina was not looking for evidence that Paterno was involved in a covrup. He was looking for evidence to convict Sandusky.
          Fina did not say ” there is no evidence Paterno participated in a coverup.” He said HE did not find evidence that Paterno was part of a CONSPIRACY —. If Fina had read the Freeh Report, he would have discovered an email that suggests that Paterno originated the conspiracy. And of course there is clear evidence that Joe conducted his very own personal, private coverup for 10 years.

          • ritt

            January 20, 2014 at 5:03 pm

            Anybody can write a story…..

          • RevealTheFacts

            January 21, 2014 at 12:45 am

            Fina also investigated the alleged conspiracy. I call it alleged because the trials have not yet occurred. I know that doesn’t matter to pedophile enablers like you. You do know, don’t you, that children are still being molested each and every day because people like you don’t care about fixing the system which allowed this to occur? In fact, the system did more than “allow” it, the system approved Sandusky as a foster parent AND as an adoptive parent FOR DECADES (before 1998).

      • RevealTheFacts

        January 21, 2014 at 12:43 am

        ” I do not. And — and I’m viewing this strictly on the evidence, not any kind of fealty to anybody. I did not find the evidence.” Frank Fina. It should be noted that he’s one of the investigators who investigated the conspiracy aspect AND the crimes committed by Sandusky. The conspiracy trials have not yet occurred.

    • Sockratease

      January 16, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      You are lying about what Fina was asked and what he said. Read my comment below and you will know the truth. Do you Paterno-worshipers ever tell the truth? You make up your own version of every fact. You are evil frauds — all of you. And all in the name of defending a pedophile-enabler named Joe Paterno!!

      • RevealTheFacts

        January 21, 2014 at 12:40 am

        Actually, YOU, Sockratease, are a pedophile enabler. As you post your twists of the facts, more children are molested each day. We are fighting for the truth FOR THE CHILDREN….you know, the ones you care less about!

  3. ioncinema

    December 10, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Guess this is where terms such as… “guilty” until proven innocent or guilty by association are born. Minor adjustment made in gist. We’ll see the vantage point in Park City next month.

    • ritt

      January 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Is that true? With a name Amir, speculation is….. guilty by association?

    • RevealTheFacts

      January 21, 2014 at 12:47 am

      I am not nearly as eager as some to disregard our Constitutional Rights. My ancestors fought to preserve those rights for us. I’d like to keep them. We are all innocent until proven guilty.

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