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Award Winner

Festival Season:

February 2024

Happy Together

Happy Together

Directors:

Writers:

Producers:

Run Time:

Zahier Turner
Zahier Turner
Christopher Mays, Erin Carrie, Nicholas Golinowski
0:15:58

Awarded for the following Category(s):

Awarded Category(s)

When his best friend goes missing, a young man must choose between rebellion and compliance in a society where happiness is enforced.




Submitter Statement

"Happy Together is an amalgamation of everything I’ve learned artistically, as well as personally, throughout my time at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Conditioned to suppress my emotions growing up, I was led down a path of depression, isolation, and self loathing—all while presenting a smile to the outside world. The Universal Euphoria Pill, a central focus of the film, is a hyperbolic, physical manifestation of this feeling. By creating a dystopian society in which happiness is enforced, I wanted to convey the importance, and necessity, of the range of human emotions. I believe the best way to cope with our anxieties, wounds, and fears is to feel them authentically."

Zahier Turner is a director, screenwriter, and actor, with a niche for contrasting vibrant colors, aesthetically pleasing visuals, and quirky, relatable characters, with themes of escapism, self-consciousness, and the existential dread of modern adulthood. 


Captivated by the arts from a young age—writing stories, illustrating the characters to accompany them, and having poetry published at the age of 10—Zahier's passion and intuition has always been present. However, as a naturally sensitive male, growing up in 21st Century America has come with its own unique set of challenges. Struggling with mental health & identity issues for several years, Zahier eventually began studying at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design), where he soon began a slow but steady process of healing and evolving from self deprecation and societal projections. 


Compelled to use his passion for art and filmmaking to inspire and empower others, Zahier has since created several projects: Happy Together, a dystopian thriller about a society that enforces happiness, explores themes of suppression, pseudo-happiness, and the complexity of human emotions. bless ur heart, a spec, narrative music video of the titular track by serpentwithfeet, tells the story of a young woman running away from her past. And Starving Artists, an adult-animated, TV dramedy—inspired by his own experiences at a creative university—uses its themes of abandonment, dependency, empathy, and change, to counter the ever present themes of nihilism and hopelessness in television. 


As a biracial, Afro-Latino, Zahier intends to use his voice and platform to uplift and highlight vastly diverse groups of people. Whether writing nuanced and morally-gray fictional characters, or filming a documentary with The Conversationalist, a non-partisan, Gen-Z educational platform, dedicated to breaking echo chambers, Zahier is driven to shift paradigms, while remaining true and authentic to who he is.

Key Cast

Andre Haskett, Justin McCleskey, Joshua Bowman, Eric Ackerman

Other Credits

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