UCD Alumnus film ‘Tiny’ to DEBUT at SXSW
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 01:03
Christopher Smith, co-creator of Tiny: A Story About Living Small, didn’t study film at CU Denver as a graduate student, but his urge to send a message, along with his aptitude behind the camera, is taking him to South by Southwest.
Smith doesn’t think that his graduate degree in public administration is an unorthoxed entrance into film. “I see them as being pretty much in line with each other,” Smith said. “Many people see film as being purely for entertainment most of time, but I think that it’s just a different type of public service where it’s bringing awareness to issues, or potentially different ways of living in the case of our film. I think there’s a lot of overlap with public service and film.”
Smith wasn’t interested in film until the 90s when he was in high school. American Beauty, Good Will Hunting, and Tarantino all grabbed his attention. Before going to CU Boulder for his undergrad in philosophy, Smith attended a semester-long film program in Australia at Sydney Film School. Down Under is where he picked up his filmmaking aptitude.
After graduating from UCD, Smith realized how valuable utilizing his filmmaking experience could be. “Going through the University of Colorado system, my interest changed a little bit more to filmmaking. There were a lot of issues facing the world that were important to address. And I wanted to have more of an impact on society, so I ended up switching to the interest of documentary films because it felt like it could also have a really positive impact on the planet,” Smith said.
The idea for Tiny didn’t come to mind until building laws and money issues prohibited Smith from building a cabin in the Colorado mountains.
It wasn’t until he and his girlfriend, Merete Mueller—co-creator of Tiny—read “Living Large In A Tiny House” in Yes! Magazine, that Merete nudged Smith to do the documentary. The article was centered on Dee Williams, who built an 84-square-foot house in Olympia, Washington.
Tiny was originally going to be a short film about the two of them building a tiny house. “It grew into a feature film last year after we finished the house,” Smith said. “We looked at all the footage, and we were starting to edit it. We realized that we didn’t have a short film, but we had a longer film.”
After the editing process, Tiny should end up running at about an hour. Thrilled to have the chance to be at SXSW, Smith hopes to find distribution during the March 8–16 festival.
The film will optimistically end up on television—HBO or perhaps PBS. “On the off chance that we don’t, we’ll probably do some sort of self distribution, Smith said. Like maybe just sell digital versions online or rent them online.”