State of Happiness
It’s the summer of 1969 in the small coastal town of Stavanger, Northern Europe. International oil companies have been test drilling for years, but nothing has been found and they are in the process of leaving. Phillips Petroleum, however, are contracted to drill a final hole.
Stavanger lives off fish, and the North Sea is emptying out. No more cod, no more herring. Something has to happen. The town is in crisis.
The night before Christmas 1969, the gas flare at the Ocean Viking is lit. Phillips has found the largest sub sea oil basin in history. And everything is about to change.
This town of Stavanger, the people who lived there, and the way in which their lives changed over the years, is a reflection of Western economic growth. A piece of distilled societal development that shows us how we got where we are today. Norway’s oil never ended up on private hands, the state kept it, and today all Norwegians are wealthy. STATE OF HAPPINESS is exploring how this happened. How much each individual is willing to give up for the greater good, and how much the society is willing to give up for each and everyone of us.
Now that the oil boom is over and we are entering a new phase, this story is more relevant than ever. It’s time to look back.
We follow the stories of four young people who create their future in a country that, in a matter of a few years, changes from being a small fishing nation and European outpost, to becoming a leading oil nation. The series shows how these four people, their families and relationships, are affected by this dramatic growth.
The eight episodes cover the years 1969 – 1972, a period where this town, the people who lived there, and the way their lives changed over the years, is a reflection of Western economic growth.
The four main characters are the three Norwegians Anna Hellevik (19), Christian Nyman (19) and Toril Torstensen (17), and the American Jonathan Kay (28). The story evolves around these four young people, their families, friends and work places. Each of them represent an aspect of the society and the progress they are a part of.
Christian’s dad, Fredrik Nyman, is the owner and managing director of one of, the cornerstone companies of the town, Nyman shipping and cannery. Toril comes from a religious background, and Christian’s girlfriend Anna, who comes from a small farm in a remote area of the countryside. Anna starts working as a secretary at the town hall, where the important political decisions at the time are being made.
The young American lawyer Jonathan Kay is from Texas, and works for Philips Petroleum. He is sent to Stavanger in the summer of 1969 to get them out of the agreement with the Norwegian state. They have given up hope they’ll ever find anything.
The stories of these four young people are being intertwined with each other, and they are all in one way or another affected by the oil industry and all the changes the oil brought with it; the development of the welfare state, equal rights for men and women, immigration and prosperity.