2016 was a year of intense change. With politics altering lives through elections and Brexit and the ever-pushing surge of new technologies, the world now feels like a slippery slope to the dystopian societies we see in movies. To most, this feels hopeless and overwhelming. But 2016 sparked a search for something happier in the world, and hygge may be the answer.
You may have only seen hygge under aesthetically pleasing Instagram posts of hot cocoa, but the real lives of people who truly know hygge are a breath of fresh air. The documentary Finding Hygge sets out to explore the Danish word “hygge” and those attempts to define it. So what is hygge? Hygge is a Danish word for a moment that is cozy, charming, or special. It’s being present and enjoying the present. Coming in 2018, Finding Hygge examines the global phenomenon through an in-depth look at those who have made hygge a lifestyle.
Finding Hygge’s director, Rocky Walls, works as the CEO of 12 Stars Media, a production company operating out of Fishers, Indiana. For Walls, this is a personal project. “In May of 2016, I visited Copenhagen for the first time and noticed something about the people that was captivating to me. As soon as I got home, I started to explore the Danish culture to find out what made the Danes different; it was a very subtle difference, nothing major. Through this, I learned about the concept of hygge.” Walls explained how, in Denmark, he observed people taking breaks in the middle of the workday to lay in the grass in the park – without smartphones. “We all have stress, social media, pressure, and those things aren’t all bad. But, we’ve got to find a way out of them, too. We need to turn stress off and appreciate life.”
Finding Hygge features interviews from Meik Wiking, the author of the best-selling book “The Little Book of Hygge,” and a lifestyle blogger who finds hygge in raising chickens. The Danish people who have integrated hygge into their daily lives also share their stories in the film. The documentary visits Copenhagen, Henne, Ebeltoft, Denmark, as well as Winnipeg and London to look at the origins and spread of hygge in the past few years. Walls said, “One major challenge is that hygge is so hard to explain, and it means different things to different people. You can’t buy or manufacture hygge. It’s a mental shift.”
Walls hopes that this film helps improve the lives of its viewers. “I hope that the people who watch this film find hygge in their own way, that it makes their life better, and that they help others find and experience it, too.”