Anthony was born in Milwaukee, WI, and in 5th grade he played Ebenezer Scrooge in a school production of A Christmas Carol, and on the strength of that performance he was cast as the Balloon King in the Milwaukee Public Television production of The Hide & Seek Odyssey of Madeline Gimple. He attended Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay, WI and co-produced/co-hosted a local access music show on cable television where he and his partner (Nick Knuth) played rock-a-billy and oldies. He also performed several famous monologues as part of an experimental student theater program.
He attended the Univ. of WI/Green Bay and worked as a stage manager on student productions, and he also attended Chattanooga State Community College in Chattanooga, TN where he worked as technical director on student video projects. He graduated from the Univ. of TN/Chatt. with a B.A. in philosophy, and was the co-founder of two student/community organizations (Myles Horton Organization, People’s Justice Alliance). He wrote/performed in guerilla theater productions, and acted in Kiss Or Make Up at the Backstage Playhouse in Chattanooga, TN. While in college, he co-produced/co-hosted an experimental overnight radio show on WUTC-FM, entitled “UnRadio.” He wrote/performed in several comedic sketches with his partner (Jack Hale) and friends.
Anthony has done freelance film writing since college, and has been a contributing writer to the Chattanooga News-Free Press newspaper, Shredding Paper magazine, and Impose magazine in New York City, where he did a film and music blog named after his production company (Black Orchid) for almost ten years. He began writing screenplays in the late 90s while living in a trailer in Tunnel Hill, GA and working on a road crew. After several years he moved to Los Angeles and began a crash course in film and television. He acted in a feature film entitled, The Ghosts Of Edendale, directed by Stefan Avalos, and worked for talent agencies doing television work of various kinds at ABC, NBC and Tribune Studios. He also worked as one of the First Assistant Directors on a feature film entitled, The Switch, directed by Damian Chapa. He even auditioned for Comedy Central’s Beat The Geeks game show as the music geek.
Anthony developed the idea for a documentary film project on Watts and South Central Los Angeles entitled, Watts: Burning Inside, and he successfully pitched that project to HBO as part of the America Undercover series. He left his job as a buyer at Amoeba Music in Hollywood and spent nine months doing research, pre-production and preliminary interviews. During pre-production he returned to WI, and while working in human services he continued work on the documentary. HBO, ultimately, decided to drop the project, and he finished the film with the help of his DP, Paul Burke, Jr., and couple editors who became part of the family for a while. He cut the original HBO version down to a shorter version and the film has screened at a couple festivals.
Since returning to Wisconsin, Anthony co-produced/co-directed a 24-Hour Pet Massage Marathon (with Jessica Dragan), and shot the "behind the scenes" footage for a short film entitled, Bitch, directed by the Thornton Brothers, which screened at the Milwaukee International Film Festival. In 2013, he directed an experimental short he wrote entitled, The Cliché Café. He recently completed work on a new dramatic feature script, entitled, The Vegas Project, and he has shot some footage for a d-i-y documentary entitled, The State of Things. He is also developing a short experimental film entitled, Frankenstein Cooks Pasta!.
Name: Anthony Mark Happel
Lives in: Sussex, Wisconsin
Company: Black Orchid Productions/Turning River Films
Occupation: Actor, Assistant Director, Camera Operator, Filmmaker, Musician, Researcher and Screenwriter