With Christmas two days around the corner, a young couple enjoying a night of festivities stumble across a stranger struggling to embrace the season.
Our new short film is set in Norwich two days before Christmas. Despite being the opposite of a humbug myself I wanted to explore the way Christmas is for some people. I was inspired to make this film as it was based on something that happened to a friend of mine. I was really interested by the action he took upon himself in taking a stranger into his home just offered him warmth in forms of cups of tea and company.
Despite the film dealing with some darker subjects I overall wanted to end the film on a positive note. I did not want people referring to it as 'my suicide film' and was always careful how I explained the plot to people. This proved a problem when we were location scouting. One of the scenes takes place in the pub and we originally wanted to use the Norwich Playhouse as this location. However, they were afraid the film's subject matter may be put a bad note on the establishment due to their line of children's shows and plays and rejected us. We instead opted for The Mischief Bar who were more than welcoming and gave us the whole location and free shots of water!
A lot of people have questioned what the title means. There is a song from the soundtrack of one of On Her Majesty's Secret Service written by the late John Barry which goes 'Do you know how Christmas trees are grown? They need sunshine and raindrops, friendship and kindness and most of all they need love'. This suggests that Bogdan, the character drinking on the bridge needed love, friendship and kindness. During production we bounced between different titles as we thought this one may have been a little ambiguous and a little long but we always ended up back to Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?
We made the movie super quick and all the cast and crew kept up with our quick fire schedule. We shot a majority of the film in one night and the ending scene we shot the following morning with a few pick up shots filmed as post-production was in full throttle.
For a film that was essentially put together in a matter of weeks I am happy with the result. We were blessed with a hard working crew and one of the most talented and dedicated casts I have ever worked with. I can't thank them enough for what they brought to this picture.
We did not give this film as much of a build up online and it received significantly less press coverage than Above the Fold so I feel people may think this film came out of nowhere. Having said that, it has gathered positive reactions so far. Facebook commentators have praised it's commentary on the darker side of Christmas but successfully concluding itself in being able to essentially be a feel good Christmas film.
I plan to enter the film into film festivals this year. Our last production Above the Fold played at several festivals and picked up the audience award at the Norwich Film Festival. However, with this film I plan to submit it to subject specific festivals. Germany hosts a few Christmas themed festivals and there are others that focus on showing films that deal with mental health across the country. For a short film on this scale it would not make sense to submit it to some of the bigger festivals when it could create a name for itself and reach it's audience by submitting to specific festivals.