Program 22: A Million Happy Nows
Directed by Albert Alarr
This deeply moving story of a couple confronting the realities of early-onset Alzheimer’s features a fantastic cast led by Crystal Chappell (Days of Our Lives, One Life to Live, and Guiding Light). Chappell stars as Lainey Allen, a soap opera star who’s retiring after 25 years in the spotlight. She and her beautiful partner, Eva (played by Jessica Leccia, One Life to Live, Guiding Light) move into an idyllic seaside home with plans to share the fruits of their labors together, removed from the stress and pressures of daily filming and celebrity life.
Lainey’s recent memory lapses have been a minor concern, but when she forgets to turn off the stove one night – nearly asphyxiating the couple when the pilot light goes out – it’s clear the issue has grown much more critical, and Eva insists that she see a doctor. The tests reveal what Lainey had known was a possibility for years, but now totally blindsides Eva. The Alzheimer’s diagnosis forces the couple to reassess their relationship and life goals, opening up a chasm of uncertainty before them.
Chappell and Leccia have a palpable chemistry that’s fully on display as they confront the inevitable consequences of the disease. While there’s no escaping the heavy sadness that surrounds the diagnosis, the film succeeds in avoiding a descent into depression. The two work their way through Lainey’s “bucket list” and defiantly choose to create new memories, knowing that they will eventually be lost by one, but cherished for years to come by the other. We share in moments of anger, joy, and confusion as they navigate this new reality, and face questions of how and when to share the news with their friends and family. Woven through it all is a theme of their mutual love.
Along with Chappell and Leccia, the film stars a host of recognizable faces and daytime regulars, including Robert Gant (The Young and the Restless, Queer as Folk), Susan Seaford Hayes (Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless), and Dendrie Taylor (Vital Signs). Heartfelt, touching, and with a sweet sense of humor, A Million Happy Nows will move you and leave you appreciating every one of your “million happy nows.”
— Jennifer Morgan
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- JURY AWARD, Best First Narrative Feature, Albert Alarr – FilmOut San Diego
- JURY AWARD, Best Actress, Crystal Chappell – FilmOut San Diego
- JURY AWARD, Best Supporting Actress, Jessica Leccia – FilmOut San Diego
- AUDIENCE AWARD, Best First US Narrative Feature – Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival
- AUDIENCE AWARD, Best Female Feature Film – Roze Filmdagen Amsterdam LGBT Film Festival
- AUDIENCE AWARD, Best Feature Film – Desperado LGBT Film Festival (Phoenix, AZ)
- AUDIENCE AWARD, Best Feature Film – Freiburg Lesbian Film Festival (Germany)
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Frameline San Francisco LGBTQ International Film Festival
- OFFICIAL SELECTION – Mardi Gras Film Festival (Sydney, Australia)
Marisa is an actress, screenwriter, and novelist. Currently living in New York City, she grew up in Bath, England, and trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Her debut novel for Young Adults, Between You & Me, was a recipient of a Kirkus star for books of exceptional merit and was also selected for the American Library Associations’ 2013 Rainbow Book List and as a Kobo dazzling debut. She is an Audiofile Earphones Award winning narrator of numerous audiobooks, including Publishers Weekly Starred review recordings of Frogkisser! by Garth Nix and Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie. She is the writer and producer of her first feature, A Million Happy Nows, with her company, Perfect Features.