Health and Happiness Star in Tassie Films Thu 23 August 2012 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health Rebecca White Parliamentary Secretary for Cost of Living Members of Parliament received a healthy dose of happiness today when Kickstart Arts screened films from its Happiness Project at Parliament House. The Minister for Health, Michelle O'Byrne and the Parliamentary Secretary for Cost of Living, Rebecca White, welcomed the project as an innovative example of the arts helping to improve community wellbeing in Tasmania. "This wonderful project, combining arts and health, is bringing individuals and communities together to share stories, dreams and ideas of happiness," Ms O'Byrne said. "Artists worked with health and education services, local councils and hundreds of community members, young and old, to produce this series of short films about happiness." The Happiness Project is a guided creative process that invites participants to explore the question of what leads to true and lasting happiness. A self-powered eco-cinema known as the Happiness Pod was built to screen the films around Tasmania. Ms White said it was important to empower local communities to explore ideas to improve their health and wellbeing and the Happiness Project is doing just that. "These stories will help promote community connections, promote awareness of community issues and reduce community isolation. "The process of creating the Happiness Pod has already helped to bring new skills to community members and develop artistic talents," Ms White said. Kickstart Arts is one of Tasmania's leading community cultural development organisations. The Artistic Director of Kickstart, Jami Bladel, said the Happiness Project has given nearly 1000 people from the north to the south of the state an opportunity to share their ideas and stories. "In making The Happiness Project we wanted to go to the heart of what really matters to people," Ms Bladel said. "Everybody wants to be happy, and optimism is vital if we are to be able face the real challenges posed by the modern world." The project is funded by a National Partnerships Grant from the Australia Council and seven other national and state funding agencies.