LikeTrees - Polyamorous Productions by linxiaoqin


									                             Like   Trees
                             A Sarah Arlen Film

      COPYRIGHTED BY                                   PRESENTED BY
     Sarah Shana Arlen                           EICAR, The International
      30, rue Brancion                               Film School of Paris
    75015, Paris FRANCE                          50, av. du Président Wilson
  Fax: (+33) (0)                      BAT 136 BP 12 - 93214
Portable: (+33) (0)              La Plaine Saint-Denis FRANCE
                                                Phone: (+33) (0)               

    Please contact Sarah Arlen for any further information about the film.

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

 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

                     TAGLINES:                            couple who, due to old age, also face imminent
• “Love outlives limbs.”                                  death. During the course of the fable, the ancient
• “Love lives forever through the life’s blood            pair unwittingly ushers a god in disguise into
  of storytelling.”                                       their house. After showing this cloaked god their
                                                          natural kindness and humble empathy, he reveals
             ONE-LINE SYNOPSES:                           himself to them in his true form and promises
A fairytale surrounding one ancient couple’s              to grant them a single wish as a reward for their
mythic death leads them to an eternal life shared         selflessness. But before the old pair can request
with a parallel contemporary couple.                      their desire, the young husband has a medical cri-
                                                          sis, causing the parallel reality of the story and its
Late one night, a terminally ill young husband            storytellers to unveil itself in a new and surprising
and wife tell each other a mythic bedtime story to        way. This film stands as a love poem that proves
help soothe their fears of losing each other, but         love outlasts limbs.
when the myth comes to life and grows into their
own story, the narrative takes an unforeseen twist                        (200 word critique)
towards eternal life and love.                            Sarah Arlen’s short film, Like Trees, is a breathtak-
                                                          ing re-imagining of Ovid’s classic tale of Philemon
                     SYNOPSES:                            and Baucis. In the original legend, an impover-
              (100 word plot summary)                     ished elderly couple takes in a starving beggar
Late one night, a terminally ill young husband            and is richly rewarded for their generosity and
and wife tell each other a mythic bedtime story,          kindness when the stranger turns out to be none
hoping it will ease their fears of losing each other.     other than the great Greek god, Zeus. Granted a
They weave their tale around an elderly married           single wish in exchange for the food and shelter
couple who also face imminent death. During the           they provided, the old man and wife ask to die at
course of the fable, the ancient pair unwittingly         the same moment, unable to bear life without one
ushers a god in disguise into their house, showing        another on earth. Beneath Arlen’s sensual caress,
him their natural kindness and humble empathy.            Ovid’s characters come to life once again, this time
As the god reveals himself in his true form to grant      paralleled by an ailing, modern-day husband and
the old couple a single wish, the young husband           wife who narrate their story. As whirring oxygen
has a medical crisis, causing the parallel realities      tanks, rattling pillboxes and beeping monitors
of the story and its storytellers to unveil themselves    disturb the calm of their bedroom environment,
in a new and surprising way. This film stands as a        this young couple must cling together against
love poem that proves love outlasts limbs.                the onslaught of the inevitable. Intertwining the
                                                          timeless and the contemporary, Like Trees explores
            (150 word plot summary)                       the nature of true love when it is tested most – in
Late one night, a terminally ill young husband            sickness and in poverty. It is a poignant testament
and wife tell each other a mythic bedtime story,          to the mysterious power of human relations and
hoping it will ease their fears of losing each other.     the courage people of all ages can ultimately call
They weave their tale around an elderly married           upon to face the unknown hand-in-hand.

                                   Like   Trees
                                   A Sarah Arlen Film

                   Sarah Arlen                                       Damien Riehl
   Producer, Director, Writer, Character of “The           Character of “The Young Husband”
                   Young Wife”                     Like Trees is Damien Riehl’s debut film appear-
Sarah Arlen was born in a small town in Cali-      ance, as well as acting experience, but not
fornia where, even as a young child, she con-      his first turn at being Sarah Arlen’s husband.
stantly wrote and performed in theatrical          Damien is the real-life husband of Sarah Ar-
and dance productions. She graduated with          len and starred in the film at her request.
a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre, Dance        Normally, he makes a career in business con-
and Performance Studies from the University        sulting through his private firm, Orion Con-
of California Berkeley. During her time at the     seils et Décisions, in Paris, France, where he
university, she focused her training on acting     and Sarah live happily together.
and writing for both the stage and screen. At
the same time, she also took part in many live                      Diana Stewart
productions as a leading actor, worked for                   Character of “The Old Woman”
the professional internationally-programmed        Dual nationality, bilingual fluency, two loves,
performing arts company Cal Performances,          two sons, two careers, two cultures, life in two
taught theatre arts to children and helped de-     countries, shy yet extroverted, this multidi-
sign and build costumes. For her artistic and      mensional UK born actress interprets a wide
academic accomplishments, she received nu-         variety of roles with a pairing of unique sen-
merous awards and scholarships, including          sitivity and passionate energy. After Whyte-
prizes for excellence as an actress such as the    leafe Grammar School for Girls and an expe-
Eisner Award, Hickman Awards, a Pillsbury          rience of Macbeth, Diana fled to Paris at age
Award and the Mann Prize. After graduation,        20 with a broken heart to work for Unesco,
she was employed for two years by the Tony         but was quickly snapped up by Dorian Leigh
Award-winning Berkeley Repertory Theatre,          (cinema, magazine and TV commercials,
which ended upon her acceptance into the           fashion and beauty photography), as well as
Master of Fine Arts Film Directing program         Haute Couture modeling and a variety of TV
at EICAR, The International Film School of         shows, including a series in which she held
Paris, and the prestigious honor of receiving      the leading role. Diana also designed her
a Graduate Scholarship from the Jack Kent          own clothes, selling to Roger & Gallet for
Cooke Foundation. Ms. Arlen now resides in         two seasons. Love and marriage, along side a
Paris with her husband and is currently work-      career in real estate, were followed by a flight
ing on independent films in the capacities of      back to the UK with another broken heart.
producer, writer, director and actor, as well as   With her usual enthusiastic optimism, Diana
the completion of her Masters degree. She is       launched herself as a translator until her
also in the process of starting a not-for-profit   two sons encouraged her to accept an offer
international production company focused           to move back to Paris and return to her first
on bringing artists from around the world          love, performing. Diana continues to trans-
together for projects including filmmaking,        late for development agencies and for the
live arts, design and education.                   well-known travel writer, Francisca Matteoli.

                                   Like  Trees
                                  A Sarah Arlen Film

Putting heart and soul into all she does, with                     Philip Schurer
determination and vigor, using life’s tapes-              Character of “The Beggar / Zeus”
try of rich experiences and suffering, Diana      Born and raised in England, Philip moved
has a real empathy in reaching out to others.     to Paris as a young adult speaking very lit-
Leaving her own imprint on every character        tle French, but quickly became fluent and
she plays, Diana enjoys interpreting a wide       has been working as an actor in France and
range of characters and, unsurprisingly, of-      abroad ever since. After training in programs
ten plays two roles, one in French and one in     including Ecole BAW, known for its courses
English, within the same show.                    in improvisation, text work, visualization
                                                  and method acting, and the Cassio College
                                                  of London, he played characters like “Riv-
                                                  er,” the son of Jane Birkin’s character in the
                 Alain Johnson                    film Reine d’un Jour by Marion Vernoux. This
           Character of “The Old Man”             young actor has also played principle feature
Alain Johnson, a dual US-French national          film roles in such films as Zone de Tempete by
born in Seattle, Washington, studied acting       François Marchando and Carlos Aslan and
at the University of Washington’s School of       Free Radical by Eric Mitchel. Many jobs also
Drama. He arrived in Paris in 1979, furthered     come to him in the form of theatre, voice
his training under the direction of Robert        work, short films and commercials, and per-
Cordier and joined the company Théâtre 3          haps will some day include film directing.
where he performed, both in French and in
English, in numerous plays such as The Crea-                     Chiara Weinstein
tion of the World and Other Business (as Adam,              Character of “The Little Girl”
his favorite role) by Arthur Miller, L’Epreuve    Chiara Weinstein made her film debut in Like
by Marivaux, La Ronde by A. Schnitzler and        Trees at the young age of three, agreeing to
Michel Vinaver’s L’Emission de Télévision,        participate in the film when she realized she
some performances taking the company on           would be on a DVD just like the princesses
tour as far as Kiev and Tangiers. Most recent-    of her favorite movies. She is the daughter of
ly, in 2005, Alain appeared in a feature film     two professional filmmakers, Charles Wein-
directed by Frederick Kohler, Chuang - An         stein and Teresa Fernandes.
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            Charles Weinstein & Teresa Fernades
Short Plays at the Clavel Theatre in December                        Sponsors
2005 and will be in a murder mystery at the       Charles Weinstein studied filmmaking at
Nesle Theater in May 2006. He now trans-          the San Francisco Art Institute and New
lates American plays into French and these        York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In
will be produced in Paris in the future.          1987, he wrote and directed The Idiot, a half-

                                   Like   Trees
                                   A Sarah Arlen Film

hour film based on Dostoevsky’s novel. His         clos. In 2000, she moved to New York City to
second short film, The Gutter Song, screened       work with Ellen Stewart at La Mama Theater.
at many international film festivals, played       In 2002, she completed the script for A White
theatrically in Europe and received the Sil-       Silence and presented it to Paulo Branco of
ver Plaque Award for the best short film at        Gemini Films, who has produced films in both
the Philadelphia International Film Festival.      France and Portugal (The Convent by Manuel
For the stage, Charles has directed numerous       de Oliveira, Le Temps Retrouvé by Raoul Ruiz,
plays, readings and workshops at the Ensem-        No Sex Last Night by Sophie Calle), and chose
ble Studio Theatre, Samuel Beckett Theatre         to produce the film. In 2004, Gemini Films,
and Alice’s Fourth Floor. He has also had the      along with Clap Productions, began produc-
pleasure to direct many talented actors, in-       tion on A White Silence. In January 2005, Ter-
cluding Calista Flockhart and Laura Linney.        esa exhibited Breaking News in New York City
Screenwriting credits include the following        at La Galleria. The installation explored the
feature length scripts: Whiter Shade of Pale, In   relationship of the physical significance of
the Middle of Time, The Thief of New York and      “breaking news.” Teresa is currently working
Nastasya. Charles wrote, directed and co-pro-      on a feature film script entitled The Deal.
duced his first feature film, Under the Bridge,
winner of the MovieMaker Breakthrough              Charles met Teresa at a film festival, fell in
Award at the 1997 Taos Talking Picture Festi-      love, got married and had Chiara.
val. Actors in the film include Michael Impe-
rioli (The Sopranos), Zach Grenier (Fight Club)                      Greg Emetaz
and Melissa Leo (21 grams). Charles has also                    Director of Photography
produced the feature length films On the Run       Greg Emetaz is a filmmaker based in New
and The Young Girl and the Monsoon. In 2005,       York City. He hopes to make the kind of mov-
Charles served on the jury for the Avignon         ies that thrilled him as a kid and make him
Film Festival, selecting Best Feature as well as   cry with joy today. Recent projects include:
short films made in France and the US.             Writer/Director of Neat Freak, an obsessive-
                                                   compulsive supernatural thriller; Director
Teresa Fernandes was born in Paris, France,        of the “Without Pimps” music video My otha’
but is of Portuguese origin. As a teenager,        Ride (is your man); Co-creator of a behind-
she attended a drama school in Paris. After        the-scenes documentary for New York City
receiving her Baccalaureat, she went to the        Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly; Di-
D.E.U.G. where she received a Masters de-          rector of Photography for Playing, a Teen
gree in Spanish. Teresa completed her stud-        awkwardness feature filmed in the streets of
ies at the Sorbonne University, receiving a        New York; Director of Photography on Like
second Masters degree in Political Science.        Trees; Videographer for episodes of God is a DJ
She then made her first short film, Une Scene      with Theater Faction; Editor for Pull the Plug,
Dangereuse, in 1999, which was loosely based       a short film screened at SILVERDOCS; and
on Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos La-       Resident Lighting/Set Designer and film-

                                   Like   Trees
                                   A Sarah Arlen Film

maker for LEVYdance. Greg also runs Minor          zerland, where she completed all of her for-
Apocalypse (, a            mal studies. Her first career was not in film,
full-service media design operation special-       but in finance. For several years, she worked
izing in the manufacture of websites, motion       as an Executive Vice President at UBS, one
graphics, print graphics, DVD authoring and        of Switzerland’s largest banks. During this
video editing. He graduated with a BA in Ar-       period, she dedicated her spare time to
chitecture from UC Berkeley and an MFA in          still photography and traveling around the
Stage and Film Design from New York Uni-           world. Then, in 2002, she made a radical life
versity.                                           change which involved quitting her position
                                                   at the bank, moving permanently to Paris
                 Nathan Gunn                       and creating a production company called
                 Sound Designer                    ECMP ( with her husband that
Nathan Gunn lives in San Francisco, where          provides services for the creation of business
he clings desperately to the notion that he        and product promotional films. Both she
can one day turn his passion for sound and         and her husband also help film artists like
picture editing into a viable career. Until that   Sarah Arlen realize their projects by lending
happens, he spends the long days between           their skills to various short films and com-
paying gigs making his own short films and         mercials produced by companies other than
generally trying not to be a burden on so-         their own. Directing, editing or just finding
ciety. Recently, Nathan finished work as an        herself behind a camera, she enjoys helping
assistant editor on RENT, Chris Columbus’          to bring movies to life.
movie adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-win-
ning musical. In January 2006, he attended                        Andreia Barbosa
the Sundance Film Festival for the premiere                       Assistant Director
of Art School Confidential, Terry Zwigoff’s        Andreia Barbosa was born in Oporto, Portu-
homicidal vision of the usefulness of an art       gal, and has been living in Paris, France, since
school degree. On the film, Nathan served          September 2002. Back in her native country
as the assistant to the director. Film provides    of Portugal, she worked as a journalist and
Nathan the opportunity to contribute to            researcher for various television programs
the creative pursuits of other artists. To that    (documentaries, talk shows, quiz shows). In
end, he’s extremely happy to have worked           France, she occasionally works as an Assist-
with Sarah Arlen on the sound design of Like       ant Director for short films, but she earns a
Trees and invites those intrigued by the film’s    living by shooting and editing news stories
soundtrack to contact him at ndgunn@mac.           for a Portuguese TV magazine. She recently
com or visit his website at http://homepage.       finished her first work as a director, a docu-                                    mentary film called Concierges, which will be
                                                   broadcast in France, Portugal and Finland.
            Christina Zumstein                     She’s now preparing another documentary
                   Editor                          project about the long and successful career
Christina Zumstein was born in Zurich, Swit-       of Eunice Muñoz, a Portuguese theatre actress.

                               Like   Trees
                               A Sarah Arlen Film

Q: How long did the film take to shoot?        and then the prep-work on the film itself.
A: We shot this film over four consecu-        Since this was my first film and I had only
tive days with two days in a studio (the       lived in Paris for about 9 months, I didn’t
“Black Room”) and two days on location         have many contacts, so I started from
in a tiny, non-sound-                                                scratch and found
proof Parisian apart-                                                some really amaz-
ment (the “White                                                     ing,     enthusiastic
Room”). And un-                                                      people to work with
fortunately we had                                                   whom I will hopeful-
to switch back and                                                   ly continue to have
forth every day from                                                 on my team in the
one location to the                                                  future. Pre-produc-
other, so we shot the                                                tion was a relatively
first day in the apart-                                              smooth process for
ment, the next in                                                    Like Trees, but post-
the studio, hauling                                                  production       took
all of our equipment                                                 a LONG time and
back and forth eve-                                                  seemed for a while
ry night instead of                                                  like it was cursed.
wrapping one loca-                                                   Because everyone
tion at a time, but it                                               was working for
worked out well this                                                 free, they had to
way overall because                                                  work on Like Trees
I got to cast the best                                               during their spare
actors for their roles thanks to this sched-   time (and I’m sure we’re not the only
ule.                                           ones in the film world doing that), which
                                               affected post-production most of all. Our
Q: How long did pre-production take?           first sound designer was offered a feature
And post-production?                           film that paid, so I wouldn’t consider
A: I was actually in the hospital just three   that part of the curse because we were
months prior to when we shot this film,        so happy for him, but it took us time to
so I had to take time after that to recov-     find someone else who was right for the
er from surgery before starting pre-pro-       project. We hired someone new for the
duction and that left me with about two        job who had a heart attack right before
months to get everything ready. I was          starting to work on the picture (literally
lucky because I got both locations au-         the morning of that first day). The entire
thorized right away (and I was lucky be-       post-production team went into shock
cause I only had two locations in the first    when this happened (the man who had
place) and could focus on casting, hiring      the heart attack is our age, which made it

                                Like   Trees
                                A Sarah Arlen Film

even more daunting) and we didn’t think         even and especially in the face of death
about the film until we knew he would be        or crisis or hardship. My husband and I
ok. He ended up being fine but required         also have some friends who suffer from
an understandably long rest period, so we       terminal illnesses and have children; I’ve
hired Nathan Gunn. Nathan is an incred-         always felt that if I ever do find ways to
ible sound designer who was also working        express how one might deal with a com-
on the sound design for Chris Colombus’         plicated emotional situation like that,
RENT at the time and gave up his week-          then I should share it without hesitation.
ends to do Like Trees. He telecommuted          Like Trees is one articulation of an idea I
for us, being that he’s based in San Fran-      came up with to work through the expe-
cisco and we’re in Paris. Meanwhile, both       riences that every single person in the
our editor and our technical assistant          world faces once, twice or many times in
helping to pull the DVD and other piec-         their life: the moment you deal with los-
es of the film together made several trips      ing someone, the moment you face your
to the hospital with serious illnesses. At      own death, the moment you have to fig-
that point, I just tried to keep everyone’s     ure out how to leave your legacy behind,
spirits up and help them as much as I           the moment you reckon with the legacy
could. In the end, we spent at least four       of your parents...
more months than we expected finishing
the film (for a total of 7 months in post),     Q: Where did you find the actors?
but we all did it together as a family, and     A: In Paris it is no small task finding Eng-
that’s the point of the film in a big way, so   lish-speaking actors, let alone ones that
at least we learned from the material we        are perfect for the parts you’re trying to
spent so much time with.                        cast! There is a very helpful and support-
                                                ive talent agent (Cindy Brace) in Paris who
Q: Is the film autobiographical?                specifically represents English-speaking
A: The film is actually a love poem to          actors. Her actors come from all over the
my husband. From the very beginning, I          world and have all different accents and
wanted it to be something that expressed        levels of comfort when working in Eng-
my feelings about him: my fears of losing       lish. I cast two of her actors as characters
him, my undying love for him, my faith          in my film, both of whom are native Eng-
that we will always be together...I felt like   lish speakers with delicious UK accents,
even though he and I already know all           Diana Stewart and Phillip Schurer. The
this, it would be really wonderful to illus-    wonderful actor playing “The Old Man”
trate it using the medium of film in order      (Alain Johnson) is a native English speak-
to resonate these feelings for the benefit      er as well, an American one, who also has
of an audience. Hopefully because of that,      a native accent in French (the lucky man)
spectators can feel optimistic about that       due to first generation French parents,
kind of love still existing in everyday life,   but in Like Trees you never get to find out

                                Like   Trees
                                A Sarah Arlen Film

because he never speaks in the film. And,       Q: What was it like acting under your own
in fact, neither does Phillip Schurer, who      direction?
plays “The Beggar/Zeus,” and he has an          A: I certainly learned a lot and will keep
amazingly powerful voice. Diana Stewart,        doing both acting and directing in future
who has a voice like butter, really was un-     films. I think my performance is maybe
rivaled for her part because her charac-        the weakest one in the film, but that the
ter narrates half the film and her voice        film didn’t suffer from it somehow; I’m
absolutely had to be no less than buttery,      proud of the film. I had a great crew who
plus she’s such a nice person in the way        I was very straightforward with from the
she works. I cast myself while writing it,      moment I hired them, especially when it
knowing that it was my first time direct-       came to defining working conditions on
ing and that I would be exposing myself         set since everyone really did have to give
as an actor to making the most mistakes.        me a lot of distance sometimes during the
But this is one of the reasons I do it in the   shoot. But I think that all films depend
first place. I knew that I could emulate        on strong pre-production whether their
Diana’s accent to make our parallelism          director is the lead actor or not, and be-
stronger, so her accent wasn’t a barrier        ing the lead actor really makes it impera-
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 down-
time, 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 in-
volves and still let their daughter
                               Like   Trees
                               A Sarah Arlen Film

tive that you cover all your bases or you      didn’t particularly register, but I do think
feel the performer part of you look at         it was in there roaming my head for some
the shoot as impossible. It’s more advan-      time. Then, while I was a student at UC
tageous than I had formerly realized to        Berkeley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre put
have that overall                                                         on a production
view and com-                                                             of Mary Zim-
plete-picture type                                                        merman’s Meta-
of    understand-                                                         morphoses (which
ing as an actor                                                           is funny because
that comes from                                                           I later worked
simultaneously                                                            for the theatre
being the direc-                                                          myself), and the
tor. And when I                                                           play used the
play a scene with                                                         Philemon and
an actor, it brings                                                       Baucis myth as
the director part                                                         the closing frag-
of me that much                                                           ment of the play.
further into how                                                          That time the
the scene really                                                          story stuck. I re-
went because I’m inside the scene. The         read the original myth and shared it with
crew knew long beforehand what I want-         my husband, and it became sacred to the
ed, and when I went into editing, I pretty     two of us. So now it had resonance in
much had what I’d asked for.                   many ways with me. And then I got sick,
                                               and even though I was nowhere close to
Q: Where did you get the idea for your film?   terminal, I wrote while stuck in bed, and
A: The film was inspired by several things,    I think that all of that forms the content
one of which was a real-life married cou-      and texture of Like Trees.
ple who are both terminally ill. They have
children, too, and this really moved me        Q: What does the title mean?
to try to deal with their situation, the way   A: “Like Trees” is actually a code phrase
that they have to face each day of their       between my husband and I that we use
lives looking at a finite and approaching      when we go through something difficult
deadline for them when they can’t imag-        or want to reassure the other one. Be-
ine living without one another. This wove      cause, as crazy as it may sound to some
together perfectly with the ancient myth       people, the two of us believe that some-
of Philemon and Baucis. I’d read it in         how we will end up like the trees the film,
high school and because Metamorphoses          never having to live without the other and
contains hundreds of stories, this myth        never having to watch each other die.

                               Like   Trees
                               A Sarah Arlen Film

Q: What kind of film did you use?              watches the “making of” sections of DVDs
A: We shot this film in digital on a Canon     and reads stories from any source I can
XL-2E in 25 frames per second to give          about how filmmakers do things. The
it that filmic rhythm. Then it was trans-      funniest thing is that instead of killing
ferred directly onto a hard drive for ed-      the magic of a film for me, it inspires an
iting and edited it with Final Cut Pro 5       even greater sense of awe.
with the HD plug-in. This movie has nev-
er used film stock for anything but still      Q: Where did you shoot your film?
photos.                                        A: This film was shot entirely in Paris,
                                               France. Since it was all interior loca-
Q: Who are your influences?                    tions, we had an easy time shooting, but
A: Oh so many influences...Quite a few         the downside is you can’t tell it’s Paris.
people who read the script of Like Trees       France does not have a reputation for
compared it to Tim Burton (who I know          being a point-and-shoot country. It’s a
doesn’t actually write most of his films’      wonderful place to work in film because
scripts, which I thought was ironic), and      of certain things that just don’t exist in
that was REALLY a flattering comparison        many places, like artist subsidies and re-
to hear. For me, Michel Gondry’s insist-       markable financial support for cast and
ence on doing special effects in-camera        crew members, but you have to have pa-
really inspires me, like when he directed      perwork for every little thing. I know a
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and      lot of people in New York who can shoot
had the actors running through trap            indie shorts around town and not ever
doors, being pulled by ropes, acting on        know where the permit office is, but this
proportion-altering set pieces, etc. All of    is not the case in France. France is an
the “effects” in our film, besides some ed-    ideal film environment for me because
iting fades and blurs, were in-camera. It      there is such a wealth of culturally sup-
was so much better and more fun to make        ported talent that you can build a strong
dirt fly off of Zeus’ hands on set than on     community around your project. France
a computer and so much better to have          gives astounding amounts of support,
sound signal the young couple sprouting        starting from the government level all the
into trees than to have out-of-place ani-      way through to the audience, to artists
mation or tacky costumes corrupt the au-       and especially to filmmakers. It’s more
dience’s imagination. I have always loved      than worth permits and formalities...At
Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude and Being         the same time, it supports international
There, especially for their uses of really     work, which is my bigger goal.
precise symmetry in their mise-en-scene,
which Ashby can make into a comedic            Q: What’s your next project?
gag just as easily as a visual metaphor. I’m   A: The next film I’m shooting is a 30
one of those film nerds who constantly         minute short called The Adventures of

                                 Like   Trees
                                 A Sarah Arlen Film

Mom and Dad, which is in pre-production           tion, so it definitely presents large and
as I write this. It is one of a series of short   difficult challenges, which I look forward
films I’ve planned to make that includes          to with great excitement. I’m simultane-
Like Trees, where all the separate short          ously developing a feature film based on
movies also join together to form an in-          the same three main characters from The
terconnected body of work. Mom and Dad            Adventures of Mom and Dad that complete-
will be shot in Paris, this time with a lot       ly departs from Mom and Dad’s plotline
of exteriors, and is completely different         and theme. So all of my work intercon-
in style and form. It does, however, form         nects, but it’s also always very different
a companion piece with Like Trees very di-        in style and content. Another big, long-
rectly because of its theme. The story is         term project on the table is the starting
a complete departure from Like Trees; it          of a not-for-profit production company
follows three characters (of which I play         in Paris that works internationally to pro-
one) living in a polyamorous relationship         duce my and other’s movies, plays and
through the evolution of their familial           projects. And I have to graduate from my
situation as one of the three faces death.        MFA program! Then, it will definitely be
As you can see, facing death is a common          time for a vacation...I would really like to
link from my first film to my second, and         complete a few more short films while
I think it goes back to having found an-          developing my first feature, so we’ll see
other idea that really deals with those           whether I can pull this off. I certainly will
emotions uniquely and truly.                      need help, for which I’m grateful that so
                                                  many people I work with seem to want to
Mom and Dad will be one-fifth hand-               come back and pitch in on another Arlen
drawn animation and four-fifths live ac-          escapade.


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