It’s to be called Happy Valley, and it promises to be an in-depth and wrenching documentary about Jerry Sandusky, the Nittany Lions assistant football coach charged in a wide-reaching sexual abuse case that rocked the Penn State community when it was uncovered last year. Amir Bar-Lev, director of the riveting doc about former NFL star and Afghan war casualty Pat Tillman, and also director of the award-winning My Kid Could Paint That, is working on the project with his longtime producer partner, John Battsek. Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts for alleged sexual misconduct involving boys. He has denied the allegations. The trial is set to start next month.
Happy Valley is being produced by A&E IndieFilms in partnership with Asylum Entertainment. Jonathan Koch, president of Asylum, is a native of State College, and, in his youth, was a camp counselor for The Second Mile, the nonprofit organization for underprivileged kids founded by the Sanduskys.
“When you are raised in Happy Valley, you feel as though nothing like this could ever happen there,” Koch is quoted in an A&E press release announcing the project.