Out On Film: ‘Happy’ follows Augusta gay artist’s journey, smile campaign

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Ask Georgia’s own Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman, an Augusta native, what it was like having his life turned into a film, and the answer he provides is “weird.”

“Originally … I kind of didn’t want to do it,” Zimmerman told Georgia Voice. “After thinking about it and speaking with some close friends about it, it was like, if my story could help somebody going through loss or battling with stuff, then it would be stupid of me to not do this. Pardon my French, but I lived through some heavy shit and I feel like I came out the other side a much better person.”

“Happy: A Small Film with a Big Smile,” is the opener at this year’s Out On Film festival, screening at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28. “Happy” tells the story of Zimmerman losing his partner, Brian; his ways of coping with the loss; and ultimately the creation of an art campaign of the same name that’s taken the world by storm — or, well, by yellow robot sticker.

“I thought it was just going to be about the yellow sticker and robot with a posse, but it’s kind of my biography,” Zimmerman said. “Everything it took to get to where I am today and how basically I worked myself out of a hole. I’d pretty much lost interest in anything and had to completely start over.”

Film director Michael Patrick McKinley approached Zimmerman after hearing him do a TED Talk and share his story in that venue, which Zimmerman said was much more nerve-wracking than sitting in front of a single camera for the movie.

See more at GA Voice.

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