Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

PRESENTED BY - Polyamorous Productions.rtf


  • pg 1
									Like Trees
A Sarah Arlen Film

      Sarah Shana Arlen
        51, rue Brancion
   75015, Paris FRANCE
Phone: (+33) (0)
 Fax : (+33) (0)

   EICAR, The International
      Film School of Paris
  50, av. du Président Wilson
   BAT 136 BP 12 - 93214
La Plaine Saint-Denis FRANCE
Phone: (+33) (0)
Like Trees
A Sarah Arlen Film

     The Young Wife

   The Young Husband

    The Old Woman

     Beggar / Zeus

     The Old Man

     and introducing
    as The Little Girl
             Like Trees
               A Sarah Arlen Film

                     THE CREW

  Producer / Director / Writer    SARAH ARLEN
      Director of Photography     GREG EMETAZ
                         Editor   CHRISTINA ZUMSTEIN
               Sound Designer     NATHAN GUNN
       First Assistant Director   ANDREIA BARBOSA
                 Line Producer    JULIEN VIALON
          Production Designer     SARAH ARLEN
 On-Set Production Manager        MICHAEL WESTBROOK
Script / Continuity Supervisor    CHARLOTTE PONCE
        First Assistant Camera    EMMANUEL CAMBIER
           Steadicam Operator     RUDY LANGE
              Key Gaffer / Grip   NICOLAS MAUPIN
           Swing Gaffer / Grip    OLIVIER BUCHET
                   Art Director   MARIE DUBAILLE
                Set Decorators    JULIEN VIALON
                                  GREG EMETAZ
                                  RUDY LANGE
                                  ANDREIA BARBOSA
        On-Set Photographer       CHRISTINA ZUMSTEIN
 Color Correction Supervisor      EMMANUEL CAMBIER
           Storyboard Artist      SARAH ARLEN
     Key Make-up Designer         ISABELLE VERNUS
          Key Hair Designer       SAMANTHA SANFORD
    Assistant Make-up Artist      AUDREY DURCA
   On-Set Sound Supervisor        ANTOINE BOURDAIN
              Boom Operator       NICOLAS FILLONNEAU
               Title Graphics     CHRISTIAN VON SCHACK
                     Catering     DAG CHRISTENSEN’s DELI – O – RAMA

               Special Thanks     LINDA KRONE
                                  ALEX ROWE
                                  CHARLES WEINSTEIN
                                  TERESA FERNANDES
                                  THE DUBAILLE FAMILY
                                  FRANCESCO LATTOUF
                                  ALAIN AMIOT
                                  MICHEL LAURENT

                               Like Trees
                                  A Sarah Arlen Film

• “Love outlives limbs.”
• “Love lives forever through the life’s blood of storytelling.”

A fairytale surrounding one ancient couple’s mythic death leads them to an eternal life shared with
a parallel contemporary couple.

Late one night, a terminally ill young husband and wife tell each other a mythic bedtime story to
help soothe their fears of losing each other, but when the myth comes to life and grows into their
own story, the narrative takes an unforeseen twist towards eternal life and love.

(100-word plot summary)
Late one night, a terminally ill young husband and wife tell each other a mythic bedtime story,
hoping it will ease their fears of losing each other. They weave their tale around an elderly
married couple who also face imminent death. During the course of the fable, the ancient pair
unwittingly ushers a god in disguise into their house, showing him their natural kindness and
humble empathy. As the god reveals himself in his true form to grant the old couple a single wish,
the young husband has a medical crisis, causing the parallel realities of the story and its
storytellers to unveil themselves in a new and surprising way. This film stands as a love poem that
proves love outlasts limbs.

(150-word plot summary)
Late one night, a terminally ill young husband and wife tell each other a mythic bedtime story,
hoping it will ease their fears of losing each other. They weave their tale around an elderly
married couple who, due to old age, also face imminent death. During the course of the fable, the
ancient pair unwittingly ushers a god in disguise into their house. After showing this cloaked god
their natural kindness and humble empathy, he reveals himself to them in his true form and
promises to grant them a single wish as a reward for their selflessness. But before the old pair can
request their desire, the young husband has a medical crisis, causing the parallel reality of the
story and its storytellers to unveil itself in a new and surprising way. This film stands as a love
poem that proves love outlasts limbs.

(200-word critique)
Sarah Arlen’s short film, Like Trees, is a breathtaking re-imagining of Ovid’s classic tale of
Philemon and Baucis. In the original legend, an impoverished elderly couple takes in a starving
beggar and is richly rewarded for their generosity and kindness when the stranger turns out to be
none other than the great Greek god, Zeus. Granted a single wish in exchange for the food and
shelter they provided, the old man and wife ask to die at the same moment, unable to bear life
without one another on earth. Beneath Arlen’s sensual caress, Ovid’s characters come to life once
again, this time paralleled by an ailing, modern-day husband and wife who narrate their story. As
whirring oxygen tanks, rattling pillboxes and beeping monitors disturb the calm of their bedroom
environment, this young couple must cling together against the onslaught of the inevitable.
Intertwining the timeless and the contemporary, Like Trees explores the nature of true love when
it is tested most – in sickness and in poverty. It is a poignant testament to the mysterious power of
human relations and the courage people of all ages can ultimately call upon to face the unknown

                             Like Trees
                                A Sarah Arlen Film

Sarah Arlen - Producer, Director, Writer, Character of “The Young Wife”
Sarah Arlen was born in a small town in California where, even as a young child, she
constantly wrote and performed in theatrical and dance productions. She graduated with a
Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies from the University of
California Berkeley. During her time at the university, she focused her training on acting and
writing for both the stage and screen. At the same time, she also took part in many live
productions as a leading actor, worked for the professional internationally-programmed
performing arts company Cal Performances, taught theatre arts to children and helped design
and build costumes. For her artistic and academic accomplishments, she received numerous
awards and scholarships, including prizes for excellence as an actress such as the Eisner
Award, Hickman Awards, a Pillsbury Award and the Mann Prize. After graduation, she was
employed for two years by the Tony Award-winning Berkeley Repertory Theatre, which
ended upon her acceptance into the Master of Fine Arts Film Directing program at EICAR,
The International Film School of Paris, and the prestigious honor of receiving a Graduate
Scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Ms. Arlen now resides in Paris with her
husband and is currently working on independent films in the capacities of producer, writer,
director and actor, as well as the completion of her Masters degree. She is also in the process
of starting a not-for-profit international production company focused on bringing artists from
around the world together for projects including filmmaking, live arts, design and education.

Damien Riehl - Character of “The Young Husband”
Like Trees is Damien Riehl’s debut film appearance, as well as acting experience, but not his
first turn at being Sarah Arlen’s husband. Damien is the real-life husband of Sarah Arlen and
starred in the film at her request. Normally, he makes a career in business consulting through
his private firm, Orion Conseils et Décisions, in Paris, France, where he and Sarah live
happily together.

Diana Stewart - Character of “The Old Woman”
Dual nationality, bilingual fluency, two loves, two sons, two careers, two cultures, life in two
countries, shy yet extroverted, this multidimensional UK born actress interprets a wide variety
of roles with a pairing of unique sensitivity and passionate energy. After Whyteleafe
Grammar School for Girls and an experience of Macbeth, Diana fled to Paris at age 20 with a
broken heart to work for Unesco, but was quickly snapped up by Dorian Leigh (cinema,
magazine and TV commercials, fashion and beauty photography), as well as Haute Couture
modeling and a variety of TV shows, including a series in which she held the leading role.
Diana also designed her own clothes, selling to Roger & Gallet for two seasons. Love and
marriage, along side a career in real estate, were followed by a flight back to the UK with
another broken heart. With her usual enthusiastic optimism, Diana launched herself as a
translator until her two sons encouraged her to accept an offer to move back to Paris and
return to her first love, performing. Diana continues to translate for development agencies and
for the well-known travel writer, Francisca Matteoli. Putting heart and soul into all she does,
with determination and vigor, using life’s tapestry of rich experiences and suffering, Diana
has a real empathy in reaching out to others. Leaving her own imprint on every character she
plays, Diana enjoys interpreting a wide range of characters and, unsurprisingly, often plays
two roles, one in French and one in English, within the same show.

                             Like Trees
                               A Sarah Arlen Film
Alain Johnson - Character of “The Old Man”
Alain Johnson, a dual US-French national born in Seattle, Washington, studied acting at the
University of Washington’s School of Drama. He arrived in Paris in 1979, furthered his
training under the direction of Robert Cordier and joined the company Théâtre 3 where he
performed, both in French and in English, in numerous plays such as The Creation of the
World and Other Business (as Adam, his favorite role) by Arthur Miller, L’Epreuve by
Marivaux, La Ronde by A. Schnitzler and Michel Vinaver’s L’Emission de Télévision, some
performances taking the company on tour as far as Kiev and Tangiers. Most recently, in 2005,
Alain appeared in a feature film directed by Frederick Kohler, Chuang - An Adventure in
Paris, and in the play, The True Life Fiction of Matahari, by D. Samuels. He was also seen in
Jean-Claude Grumberg’s Three Short Plays at the Clavel Theatre in December 2005 and will
be in a murder mystery at the Nesle Theater in May 2006. He now translates American plays
into French and these will be produced in Paris in the future.

Philip Schurer - Character of “The Beggar / Zeus”
Born and raised in England, Philip moved to Paris as a young adult speaking very little
French, but quickly became fluent and has been working as an actor in France and abroad
ever since. After training in programs including Ecole BAW, known for its courses in
improvisation, text work, visualization and method acting, and the Cassio College of London,
he played characters like “River,” the son of Jane Birkin’s character in the film Reine d’un
Jour by Marion Vernoux. This young actor has also played principle feature film roles in such
films as Zone de Tempete by François Marchando and Carlos Aslan and Free Radical by Eric
Mitchel. Many jobs also come to him in the form of theatre, voice work, short films and
commercials, and perhaps will some day include film directing.

Chiara Weinstein - Character of “The Little Girl”
Chiara Weinstein made her film debut in Like Trees at the young age of three, agreeing to
participate in the film when she realized she would be on a DVD just like the princesses of
her favorite movies. She is the daughter of two professional filmmakers, Charles Weinstein
and Teresa Fernandes.

Charles Weinstein & Teresa Fernades
Charles Weinstein studied filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute and New York
University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 1987, he wrote and directed The Idiot, a half-hour
film based on Dostoevsky’s novel. His second short film, The Gutter Song, screened at many
international film festivals, played theatrically in Europe and received the Silver Plaque
Award for the best short film at the Philadelphia International Film Festival. For the stage,
Charles has directed numerous plays, readings and workshops at the Ensemble Studio
Theatre, Samuel Beckett Theatre and Alice’s Fourth Floor. He has also had the pleasure to
direct many talented actors, including Calista Flockhart and Laura Linney. Screenwriting
credits include the following feature length scripts: Whiter Shade of Pale, In the Middle of
Time, The Thief of New York and Nastasya. Charles wrote, directed and co-produced his first
feature film, Under the Bridge, winner of the MovieMaker Breakthrough Award at the 1997
Taos Talking Picture Festival. Actors in the film include Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos),
Zach Grenier (Fight Club) and Melissa Leo (21 grams). Charles has also produced the feature
length films On the Run and The Young Girl and the Monsoon. In 2005, Charles served on the
jury for the Avignon Film Festival, selecting Best Feature as well as short films made in
France and the US.

                              Like Trees
                                A Sarah Arlen Film
Teresa Fernandes was born in Paris, France, but is of Portuguese origin. As a teenager, she
attended a drama school in Paris. After receiving her Baccalaureat, she went to the D.E.U.G.
where she received a Masters degree in Spanish. Teresa completed her studies at the
Sorbonne University, receiving a second Masters degree in Political Science. She then made
her first short film, Une Scene Dangereuse, in 1999, which was loosely based on Les Liaisons
Dangereuses by Choderlos Laclos. In 2000, she moved to New York City to work with Ellen
Stewart at La Mama Theater. In 2002, she completed the script for A White Silence and
presented it to Paulo Branco of Gemini Films, who has produced films in both France and
Portugal (The Convent by Manuel de Oliveira, Le Temps Retrouvé by Raoul Ruiz, No Sex
Last Night by Sophie Calle), and chose to produce the film. In 2004, Gemini Films, along
with Clap Productions, began production on A White Silence. In January 2005, Teresa
exhibited Breaking News in New York City at La Galleria. The installation explored the
relationship of the physical significance of “breaking news.” Teresa is currently working on a
feature film script entitled The Deal.

Charles met Teresa at a film festival, fell in love, got married and had Chiara.

Greg Emetaz - Director of Photography
Greg Emetaz is a filmmaker based in New York City. He hopes to make the kind of movies
that thrilled him as a kid and make him cry with joy today. Recent projects include:
Writer/Director of Neat Freak, an obsessive-compulsive supernatural thriller; Director of the
“Without Pimps” music video My otha’ Ride (is your man); Co-creator of a behind-the-scenes
documentary for New York City Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly; Director of
Photography for Playing, a Teen awkwardness feature filmed in the streets of New York;
Director of Photography on Like Trees; Videographer for episodes of God is a DJ with
Theater Faction; Editor for Pull the Plug, a short film screened at SILVERDOCS; and
Resident Lighting/Set Designer and filmmaker for LEVYdance. Greg also runs Minor
Apocalypse (, a full-service media design operation specializing
in the manufacture of websites, motion graphics, print graphics, DVD authoring and video
editing. He graduated with a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Stage and
Film Design from New York University.

Nathan Gunn - Sound Designer
Nathan Gunn lives in San Francisco, where he clings desperately to the notion that he can one
day turn his passion for sound and picture editing into a viable career. Until that happens, he
spends the long days between paying gigs making his own short films and generally trying
not to be a burden on society. Recently, Nathan finished work as an assistant editor on RENT,
Chris Columbus’ movie adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. In January 2006, he
attended the Sundance Film Festival for the premiere of Art School Confidential, Terry
Zwigoff’s homicidal vision of the usefulness of an art school degree. On the film, Nathan
served as the assistant to the director. Film provides Nathan the opportunity to contribute to
the creative pursuits of other artists. To that end, he’s extremely happy to have worked with
Sarah Arlen on the sound design of Like Trees and invites those intrigued by the film’s
soundtrack to contact him at or visit his website at

Christina Zumstein - Editor
Christina Zumstein was born in Zurich, Switzerland, where she completed all of her formal
studies. Her first career was not in film, but in finance. For several years, she worked as an
Executive Vice President at UBS, one of Switzerland’s largest banks. During this period, she

                             Like Trees
                                A Sarah Arlen Film
dedicated her spare time to still photography and traveling around the world. Then, in 2002,
she made a radical life change which involved quitting her position at the bank, moving
permanently to Paris and creating a production company called ECMP ( with her
husband that provides services for the creation of business and product promotional films.
Both she and her husband also help film artists like Sarah Arlen realize their projects by
lending their skills to various short films and commercials produced by companies other than
their own. Directing, editing or just finding herself behind a camera, she enjoys helping to
bring movies to life.

Andreia Barbosa - Assistant Director
Andreia Barbosa was born in Oporto, Portugal, and has been living in Paris, France, since
September 2002. Back in her native country of Portugal, she worked as a journalist and
researcher for various television programs (documentaries, talk shows, quiz shows). In
France, she occasionally works as an Assistant Director for short films, but she earns a living
by shooting and editing news stories for a Portuguese TV magazine. She recently finished her
first work as a director, a documentary film called Concierges, which will be broadcast in
France, Portugal and Finland. She’s now preparing another documentary project about the
long and successful career of Eunice Muñoz, a Portuguese theatre actress.

                               Like Trees
                                 A Sarah Arlen Film

                           WRITER/DIRECTOR Q&A
Q: How long did the film take to shoot?
A: We shot this film over four consecutive days with two days in a studio (the “Black
Room”) and two days on location in a tiny, non-sound-proof Parisian apartment (the “White
Room”). And unfortunately we had to switch back and forth everyday from one location to
the other, so we shot the first day in the apartment, the next in the studio, hauling all of our
equipment back and forth every night instead of wrapping one location at a time, but it
worked out well this way overall because I got to cast the best actors for their roles thanks to
this schedule.

Q: How long did pre-production take? And post-production?
A: I was actually in the hospital just three months prior to when we shot this film, so I had to
take time after that to recover from surgery before starting pre-production and that left me
with about two months to get everything ready. I was lucky because I got both locations
authorized right away (and I was lucky because I only had two locations in the first place) and
could focus on casting, hiring and then the prep-work on the film itself. Since this was my
first film and I had only lived in Paris for about 9 months, I didn’t have many contacts, so I
started from scratch and found some really amazing, enthusiastic people to work with whom I
will hopefully continue to have on my team in the future. Pre-production was a relatively
smooth process for Like Trees, but post-production took a LONG time and seemed for a while
like it was cursed. Because everyone was working for free, they had to work on Like Trees
during their spare time (and I’m sure we’re not the only ones in the film world doing that),
which affected post-production most of all. Our first sound designer was offered a feature
film that paid, so I wouldn’t consider that part of the curse because we were so happy for him,
but it took us time to find someone else who was right for the project. We hired someone new
for the job who had a heart attack right before starting to work on the picture (literally the
morning of that first day). The entire post-production team went into shock when this
happened (the man who had the heart attack is our age, which made it even more daunting)
and we didn’t think about the film until we knew he would be ok. He ended up being fine but
required an understandably long rest period, so we hired Nathan Gunn. Nathan is an
incredible sound designer who was also working on the sound design for Chris Colombus’
RENT at the time and gave up his weekends to do Like Trees. He telecommuted for us, being
that he’s based in San Francisco and we’re in Paris. Meanwhile, both our editor and our
technical assistant helping to pull the DVD and other pieces of the film together made several
trips to the hospital with serious illnesses. At that point, I just tried to keep everyone’s spirits
up and help them as much as I could. In the end, we spent at least four more months than we
expected finishing the film (for a total of 7 months in post), but we all did it together as a
family, and that’s the point of the film in a big way, so at least we learned from the material
we spent so much time with.

Q: Is the film autobiographical?
A: The film is actually a love poem to my husband. From the very beginning, I wanted it to
be something that expressed my feelings about him: my fears of losing him, my undying love
for him, my faith that we will always be together...I felt like even though he and I already
know all this, it would be really wonderful to illustrate it using the medium of film in order to
resonate these feelings for the benefit of an audience. Hopefully because of that, spectators
can feel optimistic about that kind of love still existing in everyday life, even and especially

                              Like Trees
                                 A Sarah Arlen Film
in the face of death or crisis or hardship. My husband and I also have some friends who suffer
from terminal illnesses and have children; I’ve always felt that if I ever do find ways to
express how one might deal with a complicated emotional situation like that, then I should
share it without hesitation. Like Trees is one articulation of an idea I came up with to work
through the experiences that every single person in the world faces once, twice or many times
in their life: the moment you deal with losing someone, the moment you face your own death,
the moment you have to figure out how to leave your legacy behind, the moment you reckon
with the legacy of your parents...

Q: Where did you find the actors?
A: In Paris it is no small task finding English-speaking actors, let alone ones that are perfect
for the parts you’re trying to cast! There is a very helpful and supportive talent agent (Cindy
Brace) in Paris who specifically represents English-speaking actors. Her actors come from all
over the world and have all different accents and levels of comfort when working in English.
I cast two of her actors as characters in my film, both of whom are native English speakers
with delicious UK accents, Diana Stewart and Phillip Schurer. The wonderful actor playing
“The Old Man” (Alain Johnson) is a native English speaker as well, an American one, who
also has a native accent in French (the lucky man) due to first generation French parents, but
in Like Trees you never get to find out because he never speaks in the film. And, in fact,
neither does Phillip Schurer, who plays “The Beggar/Zeus,” and he has an amazingly
powerful voice. Diana Stewart, who has a voice like butter, really was unrivaled for her part
because her character narrates half the film and her voice absolutely had to be no less than
buttery, plus she’s such a nice person in the way she works. I cast myself while writing it,
knowing that it was my first time directing and that I would be exposing myself as an actor to
making the most mistakes. But this is one of the reasons I do it in the first place. I knew that I
could emulate Diana’s accent to make our parallelism stronger, so her accent wasn’t a barrier
in casting her. And my husband was cast towards the beginning when he read the script and I
asked him if he was up for the adventure. When he said yes, I sat him down and made sure
that he really knew what that would mean...the long hours of waiting, repetition followed by
waiting and more repetition, being hooked up to an oxygen mask, crying, dying and doing all
of this while being watched by people you just met. And he still said yes. The hardest thing
for him was his own accent because he was the only non-English native in the cast. He
became a favorite on set, breaking out into song during downtime, making jokes in French.
He was great. And little Chiara is the daughter of two filmmaker friends of mine, so that
worked out because they are parents who know what filmmaking truly involves and still let
their daughter participate.

Q: What was it like acting under your own direction?
A: I certainly learned a lot and will keep doing both acting and directing in future films. I
think my performance is maybe the weakest one in the film, but that the film didn’t suffer
from it somehow; I’m proud of the film. I had a great crew who I was very straightforward
with from the moment I hired them, especially when it came to defining working conditions
on set since everyone really did have to give me a lot of distance sometimes during the shoot.
But I think that all films depend on strong pre-production whether their director is the lead
actor or not, and being the lead actor really makes it imperative that you cover all your bases
or you feel the performer part of you look at the shoot as impossible. It’s more advantageous
than I had formerly realized to have that overall view and complete-picture type of
understanding as an actor that comes from simultaneously being the director. And when I
play a scene with an actor, it brings the director part of me that much further into how the

                              Like Trees
                                A Sarah Arlen Film
scene really went because I’m inside the scene. The crew knew long beforehand what I
wanted, and when I went into editing, I pretty much had what I’d asked for.

Q: Where did you get the idea for your film?
A: The film was inspired by several things, one of which was a real-life married couple who
are both terminally ill. They have children, too, and this really moved me to try to deal with
their situation, the way that they have to face each day of their lives looking at a finite and
approaching deadline for them when they can’t imagine living without one another. This
wove together perfectly with the ancient myth of Philemon and Baucis. I’d read it in high
school and because Metamorphoses contains hundreds of stories, this myth didn’t particularly
register, but I do think it was in there roaming my head for some time. Then, while I was a
student at UC Berkeley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre put on a production of Mary
Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses (which is funny because I later worked for the theatre myself),
and the play used the Philemon and Baucis myth as the closing fragment of the play. That
time the story stuck. I re-read the original myth and shared it with my husband, and it became
sacred to the two of us. So now it had resonance in many ways with me. And then I got sick,
and even though I was nowhere close to terminal, I wrote while stuck in bed, and I think that
all of that forms the content and texture of Like Trees.

Q: What does the title mean?
A: “Like Trees” is actually a code phrase between my husband and I that we use when we go
through something difficult or want to reassure the other one. Because, as crazy as it may
sound to some people, the two of us believe that somehow we will end up like the trees the
film, never having to live without the other and never having to watch each other die.

Q: What kind of film did you use?
A: We shot this film in digital on a Canon XL-2E in 25 frames per second to give it that
filmic rhythm. Then it was transferred directly onto a hard drive for editing and edited it with
Final Cut Pro 5 with the HD plug-in. This movie has never used film stock for anything but
still photos.

Q: Who are your influences?
A: Oh so many influences...Quite a few people who read the script of Like Trees compared it
to Tim Burton (who I know doesn’t actually write most of his films’ scripts, which I thought
was ironic), and that was REALLY a flattering comparison to hear. For me, Michel Gondry’s
insistence on doing special effects in-camera really inspires me, like when he directed Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and had the actors running through trap doors, being pulled by
ropes, acting on proportion-altering set pieces, etc. All of the “effects” in our film, besides
some editing fades and blurs, were in-camera. It was so much better and more fun to make
dirt fly off of Zeus’ hands on set than on a computer and so much better to have sound signal
the young couple sprouting into trees than to have out-of-place animation or tacky costumes
corrupt the audience’s imagination. I have always loved Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude and
Being There, especially for their uses of really precise symmetry in their mise-en-scene,
which Ashby can make into a comedic gag just as easily as a visual metaphor. I’m one of
those film nerds who constantly watches the “making of” sections of DVDs and reads stories
from any source I can about how filmmakers do things. The funniest thing is that instead of
killing the magic of a film for me, it inspires an even greater sense of awe.

                              Like Trees
                                 A Sarah Arlen Film
Q: Where did you shoot your film?
A: This film was shot entirely in Paris, France. Since it was all interior locations, we had an
easy time shooting, but the downside is you can’t tell it’s Paris. France does not have a
reputation for being a point-and-shoot country. It’s a wonderful place to work in film because
of certain things that just don’t exist in many places, like artist subsidies and remarkable
financial support for cast and crew members, but you have to have paperwork for every little
thing. I know a lot of people in New York who can shoot indie shorts around town and not
ever know where the permit office is, but this is not the case in France. France is an ideal film
environment for me because there is such a wealth of culturally supported talent that you can
build a strong community around your project. France gives astounding amounts of support,
starting from the government level all the way through to the audience, to artists and
especially to filmmakers. It’s more than worth permits and formalities...At the same time, it
supports international work, which is my bigger goal.

Q: What’s your next project?
A: The next film I’m shooting is a 30 minute short called The Adventures of Mom and Dad,
which is in pre-production as I write this. It is one of a series of short films I’ve planned to
make that includes Like Trees, where all the separate short movies also join together to form
an interconnected body of work. Mom and Dad will be shot in Paris, this time with a lot of
exteriors, and is completely different in style and form. It does, however, form a companion
piece with Like Trees very directly because of its theme. The story is a complete departure
from Like Trees; it follows three characters (of which I play one) living in a polyamorous
relationship through the evolution of their familial situation as one of the three faces death. As
you can see, facing death is a common link from my first film to my second, and I think it
goes back to having found another idea that really deals with those emotions uniquely and

Mom and Dad will be one-fifth hand-drawn animation and four-fifths live action, so it
definitely presents large and difficult challenges, which I look forward to with great
excitement. I’m simultaneously developing a feature film based on the same three main
characters from The Adventures of Mom and Dad that completely departs from Mom and
Dad’s plotline and theme. So all of my work interconnects, but it’s also always very different
in style and content. Another big, long-term project on the table is the starting of a not-for-
profit production company in Paris that works internationally to produce my and other’s
movies, plays and projects. And I have to graduate from my MFA program! Then, it will
definitely be time for a vacation...I would really like to complete a few more short films while
developing my first feature, so we’ll see whether I can pull this off. I certainly will need help,
for which I’m grateful that so many people I work with seem to want to come back and pitch
in on another Arlen escapade.


To top