Tiny Houses On Film

by andrewodom on October 23, 2013


With TINY still winning over audiences and being featured at film festivals around the world the cineplex is once again being invaded by tiny houses.

Small is Beautiful will be a feature-length documentary film exploring the tiny house movement. The movement runs much deeper than architectural trends and design aesthetic. The stories being uncovered reveal an organic response to the societal constraints keeping people from fulfilling their life’s potential.

Accomplished filmmaker Jeremy Beasley along with SIB team members Bridget Johnson and Kelly nardo are creating this film to explore the human side of the movement by following the stories of people who have arrived at the decision to build a tiny house for very different, but equally compelling reasons. The interviews are set to show us how living tiny is allowing them to put their resources where their values are, and make some profound changes in their lives and communities.

Small is Beautiful – A Tiny House Film – Pozible from Jeremy Beasley on Vimeo.

They need our help now though. In order to bring their vision to fruition as well as share inspiration while promoting acceptance of tiny houses as a viable and sensible housing option for many people the team is hoping to raise $5,000 USD by November 14. (Editor’s note: At press time they were only $1,488.00 shy.) Team SIB is carrying out two more two-week intensive phases of filming- one in early December of this year and another next March. The funding will be used to cover the costs of filming; equipment hire, car rental, hard drives, storage and audio recording. This will allow them to continue following the stories of three people who are in the process of building their tiny houses, and a few others who have recently moved into their DIY tiny houses, to find out what impact tiny house living has actually had on their lives. We also hope to interview a few key tiny house people in other parts of the U.S., as well as delving further into the issues of building and zoning codes and how they affect the legality of living in a tiny house.

I recently got the chance to correspond with both Jeremy and Kelly regarding the more personal side of the partnership and their aspirations with the film.

Tiny r(E)volution: Do you consider yourself a filmmaker or just someone who has a story to tell through film?

Small is Beautiful: (Jeremy) I’ve been a photographer for the past 5 years and making short films for the past couple of years. Telling stories is what I love. Moving to a feature length film has been a natural progression over many years and I’m really excited to be making Small is Beautiful.

Tr: Did you go to school or are you going to school for film?

SIB: (Jeremy)I studied photography at a technical college years ago and have been working in the industry since the start of 2008. Most of what I learn these days is by getting out there and shooting, online seminars, blogs and educational resources. There’s so much info on the web that I find it kind of crazy to go “back to school” in the traditional sense.

Tr: What is the relationship between you and Jeremy?

SIB: (Kelly) Jeremy and I met in Guatemala last spring, where I was wrapping up a two-year volunteer job teaching food security and he was studying Spanish. We stumbled upon our common interest in tiny houses, began researching, and soon realized that Portland, Oregon- two hours from where I grew up- seemed to be the epicenter of a suddenly booming tiny house movement. When I returned to Oregon in July I took part in some tiny house building workshops in Portland and was amazed to find a thriving, supportive, tiny house community there. I made some wonderful connections with many of the people who are now featured in the film. I was particularly inspired that so many people wanted to downsize their lives- letting go of the majority of their possessions in order to use their resources more in line with their values. Seeing people shift their focus from material possessions to experiences and relationships resonated deeply with the perspective I had gained from living in a developing country. That’s when I knew that collaborating on this project was the next step in my life. It’s allowing me to continue motivating and empowering people, potentially on a much larger scale than I’ve ever worked on.

Tr: Why the interest in tiny houses?

SIB: (Jeremy) I’ve been interested in tiny houses for the past 12 months or so. My values align with what I believe tiny houses represent so I wanted to build one. After starting sketches and researching endlessly I thought it could be more beneficial for my own understanding to start interviewing and filming people living in tiny spaces. I made some short films in Amsterdam on unique small spaces and more research led me to the movement happening in the USA. I hadn’t found a tiny house film that really satisfied my questions – or told the stories of the people. It seemed to just be all about the aesthetics of tiny houses. I wanted to go deeper, I wanted an understanding of how they affect peoples lives. So, why not make it myself?

Tr: How did you choose or decide on the tiny house people in your film?

SIB: A lot of the connections made initially were from Kelly doing a PAD workshop. From there we started to chat to people and it naturally expanded. We wanted to cover a broad range of stories and see where they lead. After 15 on camera interviews we’ve ended up with a few people who stories are so intriguing and we can’t wait to be able to share them.

Tr: Do you think an east coast tiny house film will ever present itself?

SIB: (Jeremy) We’d love to get over to the east coast. There is some great things happening in Vermont and North Carolina (as you know). We’re hoping to make it to the Tiny House Conference, so perhaps that would be a good opportunity. The main limiting factor at the moment is budget. I’m based in Australia so coming over is a large additional expense (on top of what it costs to make a film). Who knows, perhaps some magic will happen and we’ll end up over there as well :)

To find out more about how you can help Team Small Is Beautiful and see their vision come to the silver screen in 2014 visit their pozible page and consider a donation of any amount.

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