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Happy Valley

What happened at Penn State has repercussions far and wide, not only on other college campuses but throughout American society. HAPPY VALLEY is an award-winning documentary about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal that challenges students to examine what this tragedy means for all of us. Is there such a thing as an innocent bystander? How do we protect young people from sexual abuse? And most importantly what kind of society do we want to live in?

Penn State University lies at the heart of an area long known as Happy Valley, and its iconic figure for more than 40 years was Joe Paterno, the head coach of the school’s storied football team. His program was lauded for not only its success on the field but also for its students’ achievements in the classroom, and Paterno took on mythic national stature as “Saint Joe.” But in November 2011, everything came crashing down on Paterno and Penn State. Former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, many of which took place on the university campus. Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky’s arrest, HAPPY VALLEY chronicles the ensuing firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children of Happy Valley. Director Amir Bar-Lev takes a multidimensional look at this complicated and tragic tale and creates a parable of guilt, responsibility, and identity for a small town caught in the glare of the national spotlight.