Controversial Dox

The Grammar of Happiness

Michael O’Neill
Screening time  
28.02. / Thursday, 22:00 - 00:00 Theatre 4  
Daniel Everett's goal was to bring Jesus to the Amazonia in Piraha tribe. Instead, the Christian missionary found people so content in their world that they converted him.

A language that can be spoken, hummed, or whistled? A language with no unique words for colour or numbers? Linguistics professor Daniel Everett claims that the unique language of the Piraha people of the Amazon is exactly that. More than 30 years ago, he travelled as a missionary into the Amazon rainforest to teach the tribe, but they ended up teaching him. Their way of life and unique form of communication have profoundly changed Everett, and inspired a theory that could undermine
the most powerful theory (or theorist) of linguistics.


Michael O’Neill

Michael O’Neill was awarded a Digital Emmy in 2009 for his work with Firelight Productions on the online drama / cross platform project Scorched. Following his success with National Geographic Channel’s Inside Dubai Racecourse in 2010, Mikey spent 2011 trekking through the Amazon rainforest exploring the science of language. His latest documentary with Essential Media for the BBC, ABC and Smithsonian Channel is The Grammar of Happiness. Michael has produced and directed various campaigns with Motion Picture Company, for clients such as Greenpeace,

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The Grammar of Happiness

2012, 52', video

Directed by:
Michael O’Neill

Screenplay by:
Michael O’Neill

Randall Wood

Edited by:
Karryn de Cinque

Cristian Schmidt

Michael O’Neill, Chris Hilton

Produced by:
Essential Media & Entertainment Production, ABC Australia, Arte France

Festivals & Awards:

International Festival of Audiovisual Programs 2012 – European Jury Award; Science Media Award for Best Human and Social Sciences Program 2012