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About How to Thrive

Positive psychotherapist Marie McLeod takes 7 people on a transformative journey to learn the secret formula to happiness

Is there a secret formula to happiness? We all struggle sometimes, but what does it mean when we struggle? We all experience strong emotions, but what should we do about them? We all want to be happy - but what is happiness and why is it so elusive? Positive psychotherapist Marie McLeod takes 7 people on a transformative journey to learn the secret formula to happiness The film’s premise is; if we offer the science of happiness to people experiencing struggle; what difference would it make? Is happiness a learnable skill and can we teach people skills to live a happy, healthy and meaningful life? With unprecedented access; the result is an intimate, heartfelt and hopeful film that offers a rare glimpse into the lives of 7 people who make incredible transforms as a result of learning ‘How to Thrive?

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From the Director

My earliest memories of life were being loaded into a tiny fishing boat and pushed out to sea in pitch black darkness. Squeezed below deck with over a hundred other bodies, looters at sea, violence, trauma and washing ashore on a Malaysian coast into a refugee camp. There, our young family waited and appealed for compassion and fortunately Australia answered the call. For many of my family and friends this experience left a lasting legacy of mental health challenges from PTSD to depression and substance abuse. I am a first-generation Vietnamese-Australian refugee and I identify as gay. This early adversity has shaped my appreciation of life and my compassion for the vulnerable members of our society.

Despite all of this (or perhaps because of it), I’ve always been naively optimistic. Even as I watched those I care about struggle; I’ve always been curious to find a way through the darkness, find the key to resilience and a better tomorrow. And maybe there is a secret formula to happiness? If there is, maybe we should all get some of it. How to Thrive is a culmination of a lifetime of searching for these answers.

This will be my first feature documentary, but it comes off the back of 20 years of corporate film- making and having successfully producing a multi-award-winning dramedy called ‘Sexy Herpes.’ In 2020 we negotiated a successful format sale to Aetios, who made a longform season of ‘Sans Rendezvous’ – a loose translation to French for CBC, Canada released in late 2021. A second season has just been commissioned.

Along with veteran producer Mitzi Goldman and the team at Documentary Australia Foundation, and my long-term producing partner and digital marketing strategist Andrew Kelly, we have a strong, experienced and award-winning team. Together with a crew of emerging talent as well as industry veterans, we have an incredible film-making team. And we have what it takes to market, promote, create impact and get this film to the audiences that need it.

Meet The Team

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