We often like to watch love stories unfold without any real collateral damage. Everything is clean. No one gets hurt. Of course real life is much messier. Big Trees is a funny, touching romance story, that's not afraid to show the pain and awkwardness that is sometimes required for love.
Inclusion StatementWe believe that diverse representation in film not only paves the way to better storytelling, but leads to stronger connections with audiences. We are proud to be working with a wonderful team of people from a vast range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, in front & behind the camera.
About The Project
We all want great romance and great relationships, but growing into those relationships can leave behind tracks of anger, sadness and insecurity. These messy details are woven into our lives, yet they can be difficult to talk about. These experiences can teach us to value our relationships in new ways and view our lives from a different perspective. Big Trees is a story about how our relationships inevitably evolve over time, and the growing pains involved in that change.
I’ve always wanted to make a road movie. They lend themselves not only to the low budget independent realm, but also the comedy/drama genre. The beauty of the forest is also a perfect framework for this story. Set against two thousand year old trees, it further serves the theme of putting our tiny human dramas into a new perspective.
Jake, a recent law school graduate, learns he did not pass the bar exam. Uncertain he really wants to practice law, he takes some time to soul search. After taking some time to reflect, he reaches out to an old friend, Spence. The two had a falling out and haven’t spoken much since Spence started seeing Jake’s ex-girlfriend, Frankie.
Now that some time has passed, Jake wants to reconnect with his friend and move forward with life. He proposes a trip for the two of them to Sequoia National Park. Spence enthusiastically agrees, but fails to mention that he’s now engaged to marry Frankie. When Jake arrives to pick up Spence, he’s surprised to see Frankie there, living with him. Seeing her there brings back some old feelings and Frankie (thinking Jake is aware of her engagement) invites herself along for the trip. Put on the spot, Jake can’t say no.
During the trip, Jake soon discovers Spence and Frankie’s engagement, only to find out later that Frankie is having doubts about marrying him. Jake realizes he misses the way things used to be, when they were together. Will Frankie betray her fiancé and go back to Jake? Will Jake want to get back together? Is it really their past relationship they’re longing for, or something else altogether?
Big Trees is a drama/comedy, with narrative elements that include: marriage, friendship, sexuality, disillusionment, reconnection, jealousy, commitment, acceptance and forgiveness. The look and style of the film is comparable to smart indies like Drinking Buddies (2013) Your Sister's Sister (2011) and Before Sunrise (1995).
GLENN LUTZ as Jake
Glenn is an artist, musician, writer and poet. He is also the author of the book Go F*ck, I Mean, Find Yourself, published by Adams Media and Simon and Schuster. As an actor and multi-disciplinary artist, he has an undeniable talent of bringing to life any role he undertakes. His credits include Malcolm in the Middle (2002) Battle Creek (2015) Straight Outta Compton (2015) and Saviors (2018).
AMANDA VIOLA as FRANKIE
A Los Angeles native who has studied and performed in theatre from a young age, Amanda has successfully transitioned into commercial, film and television work. Some of her credits include the comedy/horror series Virtual Morality (2015) The Poison of Grapefruit (2017) Curse (2018) and We Take the Low Road (2018).
PETER NEWMAN as SPENCE
Peter is a graduate of the UCLA school of Theatre, Film and Television, as well as the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He's known for his work on Conflict of
Interest (2017), House of Lies (2012) and Step Up All In (2014).
OREO as JAKE'S CAT
A southern California native, Oreo spent much of his youth eating garbage and small rodents in Pasadena. He now lives a comfortable life indoors in North Hollywood. He's very thrilled to be appearing in Big Trees.
There's simply nothing like having an idea, putting it on paper and watching it come to life. It inspired me as a kid, and it continues to today. I also believe in the importance film can have in shaping our societies and ultimately, our lives. I came across this quote a couple of years ago, from Kevin Noble Maillard, a professor of law at Syracuse University. He says:
"Film is a repository of societal beliefs — it authenticates experience, archives cultural memories, and suggests aesthetic and moral standards."
While there are certainly more challenges to standing out in today's media landscape, there are also many more opportunities for new and innovative ways to produce films. Crowdfunding campaigns are an important example of this. Content creators now have a unique ability to connect with their audiences with the help of valuable platforms like Seed & Spark. This is where I say "this is where you come in!"
I can't express enough how important your involvement with the campaign is to making this film happen. That said, backing this project doesn't have to only be about financial contributions, nor should it be. I can definitely relate to not being in a position to donate to creative projects. And that's totally fine! Consider following the project and liking our pages. It helps us build a stronger foundation and strengthens the project as a whole. It also encourages more personal connections. And that my friend, is the most valuable currency of all. Have I gotten sentimental enough yet?
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About This Team
An experienced producer and production manager in film and television, Angie’s work includes content for ABC, NBC and other networks and studios, with a focus on on-air promotions and integrated marketing campaigns. She's written and produced spots for domestic and international broadcast. She’s also worked in casting, coordinating and booking talent, and maintains relationships with studios, agents and SAG-AFTRA.
MELISSA D. JOHNSON
Melissa's extensive work in film and television ranges from production design, to directing and assistant directing, to producing and writing. As assistant to acting coach Tom Draper, she provided administrative support and produced content for promotion on social media. Prior to that, Melissa worked with CNIC Management, where she pitched clients to casting directors and producers for consideration. A Yale graduate, she has degrees in Fine Art, Psychology, Screenwriting and Film and Media Production. Her credits include Chasing Life (2014) The Mentalist (2015) 77 Chances (2015) Two Minutes to Go (2017) and Yearning for Santorini (2017).
Based in Los Angeles, originally from Detroit, Michigan, he’s worked for several years in film and television, including the CBS procedural Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, as well as Freeform’s hit drama The Fosters. His short film Thief, Interrupted (2010) won the best of show at The Trinity Film Festival, paving the way to other projects such as How to Change Your Life Without Working Too Hard (2010) and the feature Coming of Age Films (2012). His original feature script for the sports drama Dark Yellow, has been recognized for placing in the Austin Film Festival dramatic writing competition. His other projects include the drama pilot Swing Time, and of course his most recent project, Big Trees.
Adam’s work in film stretches over a decade, beginning with the comedy/drama feature A New York Story (2007). Specializing in low-budget/independent film, he has a track record of taking very few resources and yielding amazing results. His work includes short films such as Boats (2009), How to Change Your Life Without Working Too Hard (2010) and the feature Coming of Age Films (2012). His work has screened at festivals both domestically and internationally.
David is a classically trained pianist with an MFA from Columbia College in Chicago, focusing on music composition for the screen. He has worked as a sound engineer, recording, mixing and editing music for shorts, features and musical artists. Prior to being an instructor at the Musical Art Institute in Chicago, he worked as a floor director in broadcast television. His credits include Fresh Beat Band (2009), Madam Secretary (2014) and Black-ish (2014).