About the Film
TINY is a documentary about home, and how we find it.
The film follows one couple’s attempt to build a “tiny house” from scratch, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into homes smaller than the average parking space.
Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about good design, the nature of home, and the changing American Dream.
After a decade of travel, Christopher Smith approaches his 30th birthday and decides it’s time to plant some roots. He impulsively buys a 5-acre plot of land in hopes of fulfilling a lifelong dream of building a home in the mountains of Colorado. With the support of his girlfriend, Merete, he sets out to build a Tiny House from scratch despite having no construction experience.
From 1970 to 2010, the average size of a new house in America has almost doubled. Yet in recent years, many are redefining their American Dream to focus on flexibility, financial freedom, and quality of life over quantity of space. These self-proclaimed “Tiny Housers” live in homes smaller than the average parking space, often built on wheels to bypass building codes and zoning laws. TINY takes us inside six of these homes stripped to their essentials, exploring the owners’ stories and the design innovations that make them work.
When Christopher decides to build his own Tiny House, he dives into the tension between settling down and staying adrift, between preserving a parcel of land that he loves and developing it. Merete begins to ask her own questions about settling down, and both walk away with unexpected lessons about the meaning of home, the importance of place, and the personal impact of sticking with a project that became bigger than they’d ever imagined.
TINY is a coming-of-age story for a generation that is more connected, yet less tied-down than ever, and for a society redefining its priorities in the face of a changing financial and environmental climate. More than anything, TINY invites its viewers to dream big and imagine living small.
Christopher Smith: Director & Producer, Cinematographer
Originally from the Washington, DC area, Christopher has lived in Colorado for 11 years. He studied Cinematography and Producing at the Sydney Film School in Australia, and has worked as a graphic designer and videographer in Colorado and Los Angeles. Feeling compelled to address some of the harder issues facing our world, Christopher uses his experience in media to call attention to issues of social justice and the environmental degradation of the American West. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration, a BA in philosophy, and a certificate in non-profit management. In 2009, he designed and led a month-long service learning trip for the University of Colorado, which explores the impact of oil and gas development on the environment and communities of the Southwest.
Merete Mueller: Producer & Director, Writer
Merete is a writer and multimedia project manager. With a special interest in issues of environmental sustainability and living “close to the bone,” she’s worked with environmental journalist Simran Sethi, as Managing Editor of elephant journal, and as a project manager at a slow food travel organization and a mobile app software company. “Home” for Merete is some combination of Boston, where she grew up, Maine, where she spent childhood summers, and Boulder, Colorado, where she currently lives.
You can find her at meretemueller.com.
Timothy Cleary: Original Score
Timothy Cleary is a musician and composer based in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to TINY, his music has appeared in Don’t Let Me Drown, which premiered at Sundance in 2009, and Helena from the Wedding, which premiered at SXSW in 2010. As an on location sound mixer, Timothy is a regular member of the Saturday Night Live production team and is also working on a soon to be released documentary on Phillip Glass and Robert Wilson’s groundbreaking opera, Einstein on the Beach.
Kevin Hoth: Additional Cinematography & Videography
Kevin is a fine art and commercial photographer, multimedia artist and imaging arts and technology educator. He received his MFA in Photography (1999) at The University of Washington in Seattle and currently teaches in the Technology, Arts, & Media Program at CU-Boulder. He has also taught at The Art Institute of Colorado, RMCAD, Naropa University, Boulder Digital Arts, The Art Institute of Charleston, The University of Georgia, and The University of Washington. He has exhibited his photography, digital images, video art, and PowerPoint performances in about 80 exhibitions around the country. He’s due for a solo show and is currently editing a book of his photographic work from the last few years and it will hopefully be out in August!
See kevinhoth.com for recent work and other info.
Elliot is a freelance sound designer based in Brooklyn, NY. While spending most of the new millenium as a musician touring abroad, he recently received his M.A. in Sound Design from the Savannah College of Art & Design. Along with working on narrative films and documentaries, he has done sound design for the LOGO Network and MTV2. Elliot is founding member of the post-production sound collective “House of Resonance.”
Anna Marie Smith: Outreach Coordinator
Anna Marie Smith grew up in Shelbyville, Tennessee, studied theatre at Davidson College in North Carolina, and worked in college admission in Houston, Texas. She is currently working on her MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts, where she is researching how online media reinvents the ways we share ideas. She loves board games and has a very strong sense of smell.
Follow Anna Marie on Twitter: @ansmith