Print media may be struggling, but newspaper-delivery people still exist. Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan’s documentary short “Happiness is a Journey,”produced by The Guardian, follows one of those deliverymen — Austin resident Bear Lopez — over the course of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as he completes his daily deliveries.
He has not taken a day off in 20 years.
Bresnan and Lucas, who co-directed “Happiness Is a Journey,” were guests on a recent episode of the Factual America podcast, which you can listen to above on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or right here:
“‘Happiness is a Journey’ involves the night before Christmas in a newspaper sorting warehouse, where the newspaper is combined with coupons. And, kind of, I guess you’d call them warehouse workers that leave the warehouse and go out into the city, take the newspaper, and they go out to different regions of the city and toss the newspapers at people’s houses and sidewalks and leave them at convenience stores. So, the film focuses on one man, Bear Lopez, who’s been doing this job for 20 years without a day off,” Bresnan said.
“Yeah, our office was in that warehouse. So, every morning we would come to work, having seen them pack the newspapers at night. And in the morning, we would see all the excess newspapers in these giant dumpsters. And you would just, you know, we’d walk up the steps, and I would look down on these dumpsters with thousands of New York Times and Wall Street Journals and Austin American Statesman, and you did feel like you were seeing the death of print media… I mean, we felt that every day.”
Lucas described the feeling of seeing a warehouse full of unused newspaper printing machinery felt “post-apocalyptic.”
“The warehouse used to be also where they printed and sorted the newspaper. And then they stopped doing that and they started doing it somewhere else, I think in San Antonio, actually. So then the paper would be shipped to that area. But then what happened was that there’s this huge area that’s sitting empty, and the machinery is still there. So, you walk around that and you feel like it’s a post-apocalyptic newspaper world,” she said.
You can watch the 12-minute documentary ‘Happiness Is a Journey’ via The Guardian. Here are some time stamps from the Factual America interview with Lucas and Bresnan:
00:00 – The trailer for ‘Happiness is a Journey,’ and introducing Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan.
03:23 – What the film is about.
06:53 – How Ivete and Patrick met Bear and chose him as the subject for their documentary.
08:52 – The benefits of filming a documentary with an iPhone.
11:08 – Why Ivete and Patrice presented the film with a split-screen.
13:25 – The relationship they formed with the Guardian and what it’s like working with them.
18:46 – What Roadside Attraction is all about.
24:43 – Why it’s fun to create shorts rather than feature documentaries.
30:03 – How they discovered Pahokee and why they decided to tell the community’s story.
33:40 – Patrick and Ivete’s attraction to the unseen parts of America.
36:37 – The immigrant perspective that Ivete brings to their films.
37:54 – Patrick’s background as a visual artist and why he left that scene.
42:39 – Their upcoming feature film Naked Gardens about a struggling nudist resort in Florida.
47:55 – The new films they’re shooting in Texas and Louisiana.
Factual America uses documentary filmmaking to examine the American experience as well as universal topics that affect all Americans. Guests include Academy Award, Emmy and Grammy-winning filmmakers and producers, their subjects, as well as experts on the American experience. We discuss true crime, music, burning social and political topics, history and arts with the creators of the latest and upcoming documentary films in theatres and on the most popular digital platforms. This podcast is produced by Alamo Pictures, a London- and Austin-based production company that makes documentaries about the US from a European perspective for international audiences.
Main Image: A still from Happiness Is a Journey courtesy of Factual America