Girl Who Lives in a Tree
Produced by: Kelly Dunifon
Director of Photography: Adam Allen Brant
Editor & Production Designer: Alyssa Yule
Lighting & Sound Design: Christian Calabrese

Starring: Andrew DeVary, Alannah Marsh, Bill Dablow, Aimee Klein & Christine Quinn

Whimsical adventure.
18 minutes.

Girl Who Lives in a Tree (2013)  was the undergraduate senior capstone proejct of myself (writer/director); Kelly Dunifon (producer) and Alyssa Yule (editor). We shot the film in Fargo, ND and Minneapolis, MN, and completed the film in a little over a year, for a little less than $4,000.

Inspirations include the cinematic style of Wes Anderson; Jean Pierre Jeunet's Amelie; the guiding principles of French Impressionism, and Susanne Bier's implementation of the Dogma 95 Manifesto. My theoretical approach to the project explored the uniqueness and significance of an omnicient female voiceover, which is an element that is wholly absent from classic Hollywood cinema.

Limited by our school semester and location, our formulative challenge for this project was to shoot a stylized, summery scene in the middle of a Fargo winter. This led to our magical accomplishment of building a giant tree set in a warehouse (which entailed such fascinating tasks as tromping through snowy woods peeling bark off dead trees; hand-tying 1,000 individual fake leaves onto bare branches in our living room; commissioning my undoubting dad to drive 1,800 miles to fetch us living sod from Missourri; and learning how to use a blue screen).
MSUM awarded Girl Who Lives in a Tree Best Capstone, Best Director, and Best Production Design. It was subsequently awarded the 2013 MN FIlm/Television Student Filmmaking Grant ($1,500) to help with exhibition costs.

Thanks to the grant funds, it screened at five festivals around the country, including the 2014 Fargo Film Festival where it was honored with the Rusty Casselton Student Filmmaking Award.

I love this movie because making it taught me about faith, real-life magic and the power of belief (fittingly enough, all themes of the story). Also, because it is narrated by my dear stage-shy grandmother who has no idea how talented she is.

Copyright 2019