The Short List: ODE TO A CHRISTMAS TREE

As part of our new YOMYOMF Network series, The Short List, where we present short films we love every Friday at Noon EST, we’ve reached out to the filmmakers with 5 Questions to see what’s up since the production of their short film. It’s a way for them to revisit their film and get an update on their next projects. You can view all The Short List films here.

 This week, we ask 5 questions to director Sarah Kim about her film, ODE TO A CHRISTMAS TREE.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtducJznEhE&feature=share&list=PL271F68EF73F6EA1A[/youtube]

1. How did you come up with the concept for this short?

It’s based in reality! I started noticing all the dead Christmas trees dumped on the sidewalks after Christmas and how much they resembled bodies. I guess I was disturbed by this and after disposing my own tree with my brother in the way they do in the short, it slowly dawned on me that our actions and the act of throwing away a Christmas tree is a very unnatural and morbid thing. If you think about living fir trees and how they’ve been chopped down and brought into manmade homes for a festive holiday celebration, and how this ornate tree that we decorate is dying inside our homes that whole time… it’s bizarre. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas trees but I’ve become sensitive to the idea and purpose they serve and now I think of trees like living people. But the film is a dark comedy with a lighter tone.

2. Any challenges or setbacks during the production?

I think one of the more difficult challenges was trying to get the children to go to sleep for the scene at the end. The kids had a hard time acting this one out and being completely still because they’d been so excited with jumping and going crazy with decimating the tree scenes right before. I underestimated how much energy they have because I thought they’d be tired after the tree scenes at the end of the day.

3. Any funny stories from the making of this film?

One of the most memorable things on the set was when we were going to shoot the tree after it’d been destroyed and completely stripped bare. All the crew took part in basically tearing this poor tree apart until all that was left was the thin stick of the tree trunk. The gaffer took out his pocket knife, the ACs put on gloves, and the DP went to town on it. We were all covered with fir and the entire floor was covered as well. We were just like the children in the film and got so absorbed into destroying this tree that it was a funny moment to experience and witness. The actual shot of the completely bare tree didn’t end up making it into the film but I’m glad we had that experience.

4. Where has your film played? Festivals or other places around the world?

The film premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, then was featured on a network TV program and played for an eclectic mix of local and international film related events, including an environmental function.

5. What’s been going on with you, filmmaking wise since the completion of this short? What are you working on next?

Since making this film, I’ve been making more films, moved to NY, writing a feature and working on a documentary. I’m currently in post for a short film I shot recently and working on the script for the next short.

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