The Happy Poet

The Happy Poet

Bill (Paul Gordon) and Curtis (Chris Doubek) in THE HAPPY POET, a film by Paul Gordon.

The Happy Poet

Also Starring:
Executive Producer:
Production Designer:
Associate Producer:
  • Cinema Libre
Production Company:
  • St. Chris Film

* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

Home/Social Media Links
Other Links

The Happy Poet (2010/2013)

Opened: 03/22/2013 Limited

Monica 4-Plex03/22/2013 - 04/04/201314 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Facebook

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Rated: Unrated

An all organic, mostly vegetarian comedy.

Bill, an out-of-work poet, puts his heart, soul, and last few dollars into starting an all-organic mostly-vegetarian food stand, but complications with the business jeopardize his dreams for a hot dog-free future.


THE HAPPY POET is an all-organic, mostly vegetarian comedy about Bill, a struggling poet who pours his heart, soul, and last few dollars into starting a healthy food stand, surprising friends and customers with his dry wit and offbeat passion. Motivated by help from a rag-tag group of supporters and a budding romance with a poetry-loving customer, Bill strives to make a difference in the world, until surprising complications jeopardize his new friendships and threaten Bill's dreams for a hot dog-free future.

THE HAPPY POET cleverly re-works the classic American film story of the underdog struggling against the system, adding a dose of deadpan humor and a fresh take on a young generation's interest in the intersection of a social conscience and the food we eat.

Says Paul Gordon, writer/director/editor/producer and star of the film, "THE HAPPY POET is, on the surface, the story of a guy who wants to start a vegetarian food stand - -but it could be about anyone who wants to do anything, and throws him or herself into making it happen. It's also about survival versus kindness/generosity/idealism-- and how life is often a balancing act between these things."

Gordon has crafted that rare indie film; a finely-rendered comedy of pitch-perfect sly, dry humor; bursting with young, vibrant characters, and a protagonist who--for better or worse--wears his politics on his shirtsleeve.

Made by an acclaimed group of collaborative, Austin-based filmmakers and actors, and shot locally, the film co-stars award-winning Austin actor Chris Doubek (also starring in 2010 SXSW films EARTHLING and LOVERS OF HATE), local filmmaker/actor/ musician Jonny Mars, and the talents of Executive Producer Chris Ohlson (LOVERS OF HATE, THE OVERBROOK BROTHERS), Producer David Hartstein (ALONG CAME KINKY... TEXAS JEWBOY FOR GOVERNOR) and Associate Producer Jason Wehling (AUGUST EVENING).

Selected Awards and Official Selections

  • SXSW
  • 67th Venice International - Venice Days
  • Traverse City - Jury Prize for Emerging Talent
  • Rooftop Films
  • Oldenburg Int'l- Audience Award
  • Tokyo Int'l
  • Cambridge - UK
  • Calgary Int'l
  • Thessaloniki Int'l
  • Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival
  • AFF Poland
  • Edmonton Int'l
  • Gijon Int'l - Audience Award
  • Starz Denver
  • Cucalorus
  • Philadelphia Int'l - American Independents Award
  • Ojai
  • Salt Lake City
  • Napa Valley
  • Flagstaff
  • Gothenburg Int'l
  • San Francisco Indie
  • Oxford
  • Sedona Int'l
  • Florida - Grand Jury Prize Best Narrative Feature
  • BAFICI - Buenos Aires

About the Director

Filmmaker Paul Gordon, a current Chicago resident, has been crafting stories with humor since a young age. While growing up in Illinois, Paul began making short films, and after attending DePaul University in Chicago, worked various jobs--including two years for Habitat for Humanity--and lived in various places before moving to Austin in 2001 to attend the graduate film program at the University of Texas at Austin; he graduated in August 2005.

Paul's feature-length film MOTORCYCLE, crafted from his three short film school projects, had its world premiere at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival, and went on to play at film festivals around the world, including Thessaloniki, SXSW and Rooftop Films. His short film GOOD played at the 2001 SXSW and Chicago International film festivals, and aired on PBS.

THE HAPPY POET is Paul's first effort at shooting a feature film in its entirety. In addition to writing, directing, producing, editing and starring in THE HAPPY POET, Paul acted in GRETCHEN in 2006, and had a leading role in the animated feature film MARS, also a 2010 SXSW World Premiere. He also acted in SATURDAY MORNING MASSACRE and the animated film MARS, and directed one of the SLACKER 2011 segments. THE HAPPY POET had its International Premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in the Venice Days section.

Cast Biographies

Jonny Mars (Donnie)

Jonny co-stars in and co-produced Paul Gordon's The Happy Poet (2010), which world premiered to sold-out audiences at SXSW, he recently starred in the short film The Grownups, selected to screen at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. He is also featured in Terrence Malick's Tree of Life (2010), starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Spencer Parsons featured Jonny in his IFC distributed I'll Come Running (2008) and as the title character Chainsaw in Chainsaw Finds Jesus, debuting at NYC's Rooftop Films in August 2010. As a member of the band New Style American Boyfriends, Jonny recorded the title track to Amy Talkington's film Night of the White Pants (2006) starring Tom Wilkinson and also helped Paul Gordon score The Happy Poet. Jonny is currently producing and starring in Sean Gallagher's next film HOME, directing his own feature-length documentary America's Parking Lot, and voicing a character in Jason Wehling's animated zombie feature The Third Day. He was also a producer and actor in Spencer Parsons' horror-comedy SATURDAY MORNING MASSACRE.

Chris Doubek (Curtis)

Chris was a member of the original Off-Broadway Ensemble of Julie Taymor's JUAN DARIEN, acted opposite Sean Penn In Terrence Malick's TREE OF LIFE, and has been featured in NBC's FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and Bob Byington's HARMONY AND ME. MR. P., a short film in which he plays the title role, was an official selection at Cinevegas, SXSW, Rooftop NY, IFF of Boston, and Marfa Film Festival in 2007. Chris has been acting onstage in Austin, LA, New York and Boston since 1984. While in Austin, Chris won a B. Iden Payne Outstanding Cast Performance Award for the Southwest regional premiere of Yasmin Reza's ART and was also nominated for an Austin Critics Table Award (Best Actor in a Comedy). The Austin Chronicle has called him " of Austin's best actors". In addition to THE HAPPY POET, Chris also appears in Clay Liford's EARTHLING and Bryan Poyser's film, LOVERS OF HATE, which premiered in January at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. He also had a supporting role in Andrew Bujalski's recent film COMPUTER CHESS, and a memorable monologue in SLACKER 2011.

Liz Fisher (Agnes)

Liz has been acting in Austin since 2001. She has performed at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Orange Tree Theatre in London. She has been in over 40 theatrical productions -- more than half of them world or regional premieres. Most recently, she was seen in Capital T Theatre's critically acclaimed DYING CITY. Liz won the Austin Theater Examiner's 2009 Best Featured Actress in a Comedy Award (Varya in THE CHERRY ORCHARD) and has been nominated 8 times for Austin Critics' Table Awards, B. Iden Payne Awards, and Austin Theater Examiner Awards. She recently starred in HOLY HELL, which premiered at the 2009 Austin Film Festival.