a story about living small

Making the Film

TINY: Now available for theatrical and community screenings in US and Canada.

Hi everyone,

We are excited to announce that TINY is now available for nationwide theatrical, community and educational screenings through our distributor, First Run Features. This means that the film is now available for public screenings across the US and Canada. (The film will also become available on DVD and other forms of home entertainment early this summer – more updates to come on that soon.)

If you’re interested in bringing TINY to your community, let us know! Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

How can I bring TINY to my local indie movie theater?

If there is an independent theater in your town that often hosts documentaries and other small films, and if you think they might be interested in hosting a screening of TINY, we would ask you to contact them to find out if they might consider booking the film for one or more nights. If they are indeed interested, you can pass their contact information along to us (by emailing speakthunderfilms@gmail.com). We can provide any additional info about the film and we’ll put them in touch with our distributor, who will work out the logistics.

If you don’t have a local independent movie theater but still want to bring TINY to the Big Screen in your town, keep in mind that local museums and educational institutions sometimes host film series.

 

How can I host a screening of TINY in my community?

If you would like to host a screening of TINY for a small community group, we can make that happen to! Just write to us at speakthunderfilms@gmail.com and we’ll put you in touch with our distributor to figure out the details. They’ll need to know how many people you think will attend the screening, whether it would be open to the public or a private event, and whether it would be free or if you plan to charge admission. The sponsoring community group would be responsible for providing the venue and equipment, and our distributor will provide a copy of the film.

 

How can I show TINY to my students or stock it in my local or school library?

TINY is great in classrooms, for all different grade levels. We’ve been honored to participate in very lively screenings and discussions at elementary schools, high schools, and at universities. Each age group finds something in the story to be excited about, and teachers and professors see the film as a fun and interesting way to introduce environmental and sustainability topics to their students, as well as questions about architecture and design.

An educational version of TINY is available and also comes packaged with a copy of our ebook and a recommended discussion guide. If you would like to bring TINY to your school library, classroom or university, email us at speakthunderfilms@gmail.com and we’ll help to make it happen.


Upcoming Screenings: February 2014

TINY documentary SXSW Alamo drafthouse

 

Where to See TINY During the month of February:

Princeton Environmental Film Festival (Princeton, NJ)
Friday, February 7 at 4:00pm
* Merete in-person for Q&A

Boulder International Film Festival (Boulder, CO)
Sunday, February 16 at 10:00am
* Merete & Christopher in-person for Q&A

Doc Night at Denver Film Society (Denver, CO)
Tuesday, February 18 at 7:00pm
* Merete & Christopher in-person for Q&A

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (Missoula, MT)
Thursday, February 20 at 7:00pm
* Merete & Christopher in-person for Q&A

Michigan Technological University Green Film Series (Houghton, Michigan)
Thursday, February 20 at 7:00pm

 

 

 


For the Holidays: TINY-themed Letterpress Printed Greeting Cards

2card

One of the main themes of the Tiny House and downsizing movements is the celebration of quality, hand-crafted and thoughtful gestures. In this spirit, we’ve decided to make and offer these Tiny House-themed, letterpress printed notecards.

Designed and printed in small batches by our friends at Banshee Press in Denver, we hope these cards will inspire you to put pen to paper and send a note to someone you care about.

Taking the time to sit down and cultivate a relationship with a few handwritten sentences is a simple gesture, but one that goes a long way toward building a life that feels satisfying and full.

Find more details about the cards or order a set here.

Happy Holidays!

Merete & Christopher

 

 


TINY Premieres on Al Jazeera America Presents this Sunday 11/24

Screenshot of premiere times on AJAM

TINY: A Story About Living Small will have its US cable television premiere THIS SUNDAY at 9E/6P on Al Jazeera America.

It has been a wild 2 1/2 years. From when we first took the leap and decided to commit to building our Tiny House all the way through the film festival circuit, we have had such wonderful support from the Tiny House community and all of those who are inspired by simple living around the world. All of the support we have received while making the film drives us to get it out there as soon as possible. And while we have been happy to share it with those people who happen to live in communities around the world where it has screened in festivals, we have been dying to make TINY available for everyone to see and hopefully be inspired by. So when we say that we are thrilled to be able to present TINY on Sunday to US audiences, you can trust that we mean it.

Two things to note: 1) Al Jazeera America is a relatively new 24hr news channel similar to CNN. It is available on most satellite and cable television netowrks but you will have to check your local provider to find out for sure. 2) For the television version only, TINY has been shortened a bit so that it can fit in an one hour time slot. The official version is actually about 10 minutes longer.

Now, we know a lot of people don’t have cable television or do not get Al Jazeera America. For you we hope to be able to make TINY available online for you stream or download sometime in the near future. Also, DVDs are still coming and will be available soon. Hang in there!

For Canadians: TINY premiered on the CBC Documentary channel last weekend, but check with them as they plan on airing repeats of TINY through out the next year. It will also be available in Canada on iTunes and other digital platforms very soon!


Come see Merete & Christopher in person with TINY, at DOC NYC this Saturday 11/16.

TINY_DocNYC_Promo

 

Find more info or purchase tickets in advance here.


April: Upcoming Screenings in Minneapolis, Toronto, and Boston.

On the heels of our SXSW premiere in Austin, Texas last month, we are excited to continue sharing the film with audiences around the country!

Here are the upcoming screenings scheduled for the month of April, along with links to purchase tickets:

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota:

Thursday, April 25, 7:30pm (click dates for more info and to purchase tickets)
Saturday, April 27, 4:10pm



Toronto, Canada:

Sunday, April 28, 9:15pm (click dates for more info and to purchase tickets)
Monday, April 29, 4:00pm
Sunday, May 5, 1:30pm



Boston, Massachusetts:

Sunday, April 28, 9:00pm at The Somerville Theatre (click for info and to purchase tickets)

We hope to see you there, and will be announcing other screenings in coming months soon! If you don’t live in any of these cities but know people who do, and who might be interested to see the film, feel free to share this link. A DIY, grassroots project through-and-through, we’re relying on word of mouth to let people know where and when they can see the film.

 


Announcing our Premiere and Screening Times at SXSW 2013

We are excited to announce that the worldwide premiere of “TINY: A Story About Living Small” will happen at SXSW in Austin, Texas this coming March 8-13, 2013.

Our screening times are as follows:

Saturday, March 9 at 5:00pm: The Rollins Theater at the Long Center for the Performing Arts

Monday, March 11 at 11:30am: The Alamo Village Theater

Wednesday, March 13 at 3:45pm: The Alamo Ritz Theater

For more information about screenings and tickets, visit our page the SXSW website here. And be sure to invite your friends!

 

If you’ve been following this project for a while, we’d like to take a moment to say thank you for your patience, encouragement, and excitement while this film was in production and post-production. We cannot wait to share the completed story with you.

And if you’re just visiting us for the first time, welcome! To learn more about the project, you might be interested in checking out some of our updates on making the film or our Step-by-step construction photo album on facebook. Continue reading “Announcing our Premiere and Screening Times at SXSW 2013” »


For our Kickstarter Backers: Tiny House Sketches from Derek Diedricksen.

Last month, we were able to meet up with Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, tiny house blogger, author, architect and all-around “mad scientist.” We were in NYC working on post-production for the film and Deek was also in Brooklyn, to lead a Tumbleweed Tiny House Building Workshop.

We first met Deek last fall, when we interviewed him for the documentary and produced this short video on his micro sculpture-meets-shelter work. We launched our Kickstarter campaign for the film soon after, and Deek generously stepped up to offer two original sketches of any tiny house as a reward for new backers.

The first backer, Jim Wheeler, requested that Deek draw him a portrait of our very own tiny house in Colorado. Deek graciously complied and, based on a few photos that we sent to him, sent the sketch above. The next backer, Kendra Robinson, requested a portrait of her tiny dream home, which she hopes to one day build on a foundation up in the snowy mountains nearby: Continue reading “For our Kickstarter Backers: Tiny House Sketches from Derek Diedricksen.” »


Upcoming Events: “TINY” in the Classroom, Idaho Annual Planning Conference, and Beyond.

As we power through final edits on the film and prepare for a host of film festival submissions, we’re getting excited for a busy autumn, full of sneak peek screenings and tiny house discussions.

Below is a list of the various events where we’ll be speaking and/or showing bits and pieces of the film. If you are in the area for any of these events, we’d love for you to stop by and say hey!

From first grade classrooms to urban planning conferences to tiny house building workshops, we’re excited to hear from such diverse crowds. And, of course, stay tuned in the coming months for info on the official premier of the completed film! We’ll be posting updates here and also on the “TINY” facebook page.

Continue reading “Upcoming Events: “TINY” in the Classroom, Idaho Annual Planning Conference, and Beyond.” »


We Want You in Our Documentary: A Call for Tiny House Portraits

Christopher Merete Tiny House Hartsel Colorado


An example of a portrait of us in front of our tiny house in Colorado.

Do you live in a tiny house? Send us your portrait to be included in a documentary about the tiny house movement!

When this project first began, it was much smaller. Storytellers by trade, we thought we’d capture the process of building our own tiny house to make a short film. But, as we began to draw our plans and looked to the thriving online tiny house community for design inspiration and how-to help, we began to realize how far-reaching and incredible the tiny house movement really is. This is when we realized that we could use our own building story to tell a much larger story, of the thousands of people around the country who are finding satisfaction in living smaller and more simply.


Filming a portrait of John Wells at “The Field Lab.”

Over a year later, as we wrap up the editing process and get ready to release the film, we want to be sure that we can include as many other tiny housers as possible. We’ve already interviewed a handful of key characters (people like Tammy & Logan of RowdyKittens in Portland, and Deek Diedricksen of RelaxShacks in Massachusetts), but we know that the tiny house movement is a widespread phenomenon. We want our viewers to understand that there’s a huge demographic of people out there who are going small.


A portrait of Anne & Darren in “Protohaus.”

If you live in a tiny house (we don’t have a strict definition for “tiny house,” but are focusing mainly on homes that are less than 400 square feet), we would love to include you in our film.

To be included, please send us a photo portrait of you and your family with your tiny house.

Here are the specifics of what we’re looking for:
Continue reading “We Want You in Our Documentary: A Call for Tiny House Portraits” »


Heating our Tiny House: Wood vs. Propane.

Back in March, when we interviewed Ann Holley and Darren Macca of Protohaus (pictured above), we asked them what advice they would give to someone just beginning to build their tiny house. Ann immediately had an answer, “It’s really important to have all of your utilities before you begin building,” she said, “so that you know the exact dimensions and what you’ll need to do to install them. It really helps to plan that out ahead of time.” Christopher and I looked at each other, the obvious truth of this statement dawning on us. Ohhhh. Yeah. That would have made our own construction process sooo much easier.

In case you’re new to this project, here’s some important background info:

1: Neither Christopher or I have any building experience whatsoever.

2: We did not use any plans in the building of this house. Christopher pretty much figured it out/ made it all up as he went along.

For us, this has been part of the adventure. But it has certainly come with its share of challenges. Such as that fateful summer day when we realized that all of the windows we’d bought were horizontal instead of vertical, and that yes, this matters when constructing a house.

This project has been about learning as we go, and part of that, inevitably, means making mistakes, having a sense of humor, and adjusting accordingly. Picking out a stove for our house has been no exception.

Continue reading “Heating our Tiny House: Wood vs. Propane.” »


TINY Open House in Boulder: Saturday, April 28.

On April 28, to celebrate the completion of our tiny house, we hosted an open house at McGuckin Hardware in downtown Boulder, Colorado. Continue reading “TINY Open House in Boulder: Saturday, April 28.” »


Why Did We Choose to Build a Tiny House, Rather than Buy an RV or Mobile Home?

As our project has gotten a bit more mainstream press over these last few weeks, one question we’ve seen pop up again and again in the comments sections of blogs and news posts has been: why did we choose to build a tiny house from scratch rather than buy an RV or a mobile home?

“Coulda bought a single-wide and saved yourselves 1o months of labor.”

Well, yes. This is definitely true. But for us, building our own house from scratch was kind of the whole point. We wanted to see how we would be changed by committing to a project of this size and scale and seeing it through. Christopher and I wanted to know: how would our idea of ‘home’ change when we set out to build our own, from start to finish, with our own hands? After almost a year of pushing ourselves to stick with it, we’re starting to find out. For us, this was about learning exactly how much time and effort and resources go into the literal roof over our heads.  Continue reading “Why Did We Choose to Build a Tiny House, Rather than Buy an RV or Mobile Home?” »


Meet our Production Team: Kevin Hoth, Photographer & Videographer.

Though Kevin Hoth very rarely appears in front of the camera in our posts, blogs and footage, he’s been the eye behind more than a few recognizable shots of the tiny house.

For example—that photo of Christopher and me working in front of the tiny house, taken from behind the reeds in an irrigation ditch by the building site? Or the shot of Christopher and me nailing a piece of roof trim in the light of an August sunset? Those were both taken by Kevin, a bit off-handedly with his iPhone, while he balanced the Canon 5D that he uses for filming on his other arm.

        

I first met Kevin a few years ago (we shared a temp job packing soap boxes, long story…) and had been following his photography work on facebook and on his tumblr for a few years when Christopher and I began the tiny house project. We were looking for another videographer to supplement our own footage of the building process, and I knew that Kevin’s eye for small details and spacious landscapes would help to convey the personality of this project and the land of Colorado where it’s so strongly rooted.

Since joining the project in August, Kevin has also been behind the camera for some of the most dramatic shots in our trailer—including some of the intro shots that show the land around Hartsel, Colorado, and the jib shot of Christopher installing the roof cap at the end.

To help you all get to know Kevin and his work a bit more, I sat down with him (via email) for a short interview. Whether Kevin’s thoughts inspire you to see your own surroundings in more creative ways, or to pick up your iPhone camera a little more often, we hope you enjoy it!

Continue reading “Meet our Production Team: Kevin Hoth, Photographer & Videographer.” »


Tiny House Construction Update: Separating the Bathroom from the Kitchen.

Nothing has made the house feel like an actual house more than the addition of our first real “room.”

Many of you may already know that we’re not building this house with any plans. Christopher chose to figure it out as he went along—partly because he felt that designing the house himself was part of his dream to truly create a home of his own. If you know Christopher personally, you’ll agree that the whole “figure it out as we go along” mentality is sort of that way that he lives his life. The house has been conquered by taking each step as it comes, and learning as he goes.

And so, we invite you to stand back and watch the genesis of our bathroom/kitchen wall/closet/built-in bookcase, step by step. In this slideshow, you’ll see the evolution of the bathroom, followed by the narrow closet that opens onto the kitchen, and finally, the built-in bookshelf made out of  our leftover barnwood.

Continue reading “Tiny House Construction Update: Separating the Bathroom from the Kitchen.” »


The Two Tiny House Books on our Coffeetable.

During the research phase for this project, we dug through countless websites to find other tiny house builders and dwellers that we could use as potential film subjects. We searched Tiny House Blog and Tiny House Design, and Tiny House Talk and good old Google and have been so grateful for the wealth of info available at our fingertips.

But still, there’s nothing quite like a print-and-paper book.

 

TINY HOMES: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn sent us a copy of his “Tiny Homes; Simple Shelter” just after Christmas. At this point, Christopher and I were both feeling a bit exhausted by our Kickstarter campaign, work on the house, and a few back-to-back filming trips. Lloyd’s oversized, picture-heavy book delivered the just the inspirational kick that we needed.

“Woah, cool!” we both found ourselves exclaiming, separately, on different occasions, stationed on the couch under a pile of blankets while it snowed outside. Right. This was why we were making this film to begin with: because there are creative, pro-active, DIY geniuses out there who are redefining the way we live and build and inhabit our homes. Continue reading “The Two Tiny House Books on our Coffeetable.” »


A Kickstarter Update: Success! and a Huge Thank You


Photo by Kevin Hoth

We couldn’t have done it without every single person who ‘liked’ the video, tweeted or posted the Kickstarter page to facebook, every single blogger who wrote about and shared it, every person who commented and sent us messages and most especially—every single person who donated to the project.

Not only did we reach our goal, we surpassed it by 147% for a final total of $11,062.00! Every penny of which will be used on post-production expenses, paying our team for their great work, and film festival submissions.

And a few special shout-outs to a few special people who have supported us from the beginning, and really had a major impact on the final turnout of the campaign:

Andrew and Crystal Odom of Tiny r(E)volution

Allie Bombach & Sarah Menzies of 23 feet and Red Reel Video

Kent Griswold of Tiny House Blog

Alex Pino of Tiny House Talk

Waylon Lewis and Kate Bartolotta of elephantjournal.com

Anna Brones of EcoSalon

Karen Worden and David Branin of FilmCourage.com

Tumbleweed Tiny Houses

Derek Diedrickson, of relaxshacks.com who donated 3 original tiny house sketches as special rewards.

Kevin Harrington of CozyHomePlans.com, who donated a tiny house plan as a special reward.

Happy holidays everyone and we’ll be in touch soon about fulfilling each of your rewards.


A Kickstarter Update: Exceeding Our Expectations

Last night, Christopher and I were huddled on a cold bus back from Denver, checking our email when we received the notice that one large donation had come in, tipping us over our Kickstarter goal.

We smacked a huge high-five and breathed a deep sigh of gratitude. We couldn’t have done it without every single person who has shared our link, ‘liked’ our video, and pulled out their credit cards to back this labor of love.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the project thus far, we will be able to cover most of our post-production costs, including sound editing and recording our original score, and professional color correction. These elements will help to make the film as high-quality as possible, immersing our viewers in the experience of small living. Huge thanks to everyone who has made this possible!

But Wait—We Still Have 8 Days….

We made 100%, but we’re not stopping there! Continue reading “A Kickstarter Update: Exceeding Our Expectations” »


A Kickstarter Update: Thanksgiving Gratitude

The following letter was written by Merete as a Thanksgiving note to our Kickstarter backers and followers.

(You can find our project on Kickstarter along with more info about contributing here.)

In small spaces, it’s true that there’s often more to be thankful for. Not because there’s more, but because the meaningful things stand out.

Thoreau—whom you might say was the original tiny house builder—moved to his woodsy cabin to “confront the essential facts of life.” To find out what he could and couldn’t live without, and how that knowledge might affect the way that he lived every day.

I like to think of Thanksgiving as serving the same purpose—a day devoted to stopping and taking stock of everything we actually have. Which, when we stop to think about it, is usually quite a lot.  Continue reading “A Kickstarter Update: Thanksgiving Gratitude” »


TINY on Kickstarter!

Today, we have some exciting news: our Kickstarter campaign has launched!

If you’re unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it’s basically a forum that helps independent artists raise funds to complete their projects. In this case, we’re raising funds for the post-production of our film (things like editing, recording the original score, and other technical details). But we’re not simply asking for donations. When you back the film, you can choose from a list of Thank You gifts—such as signed copies of the film on DVD, access to special “Behind the Scenes” footage, original stills from the film—even a weekend in the completed tiny house. If we reach our final goal (and we hope to!), we’ll receive all of the money that has been pledged at the end of the campaign. If not, your card will never be charged.

Whether or not you can contribute to the project, we’d love to use our Kickstarter page to learn more about what makes people feel at home. So please, head on over to the Kickstarter page, and post a comment there letting us know about a story, or a detail, or a person or a place that makes you feel like you belong.

If you can’t contribute to the project but want to help us to reach our goal, you can always contribute by sharing the Kickstarter link with your friends and family via email, facebook, twitter, or good old fashioned word of mouth. If you have any ideas about publications, communities or anyone who might be interested in our project, please feel free to drop us a line and let us know!

Thanks everyone and we can’t wait to share the final film with you all!


First Graders = Easily Excited about Tiny Houses.

During a recent filming trip to the Boston area, we stopped by a first grade classroom at Pierce Elementary School for a slideshow and discussion about living small.

These six-year-olds, familiar with the thrills of building forts and tree houses, enamored with the idea of small spaces to call their own,  were quite enthusiastic about our building project. A gasp rose up from the carpet, where they all studiously sat cross-legged, each time we showed a new slide on the overhead projector.

Here are a few of our favorite first grade comments about tiny houses: Continue reading “First Graders = Easily Excited about Tiny Houses.” »


Autumn in Colorado.

There’s this one video clip from back in April that makes Christopher and I laugh every time we see it.

It’s from one of the first interviews that we filmed, in Christopher’s kitchen, a few days after he’d bought the trailer and begun building. “How long exactly do you think this project will take you?” I asked and Christopher replied, without missing a beat, “About two, maybe three months.”

That was seven months ago.

Yet, the progress has been steady on both the house and the film, and our—slightly more realistic—finish date is now projected for the end of this year. The up-side of this is that we get to share some gorgeous Autumn photography with you, from out at the building site, on Christopher’s land, and also from some filming shoots that we’ve done in other areas of Colorado. Enjoy!

 

Continue reading “Autumn in Colorado.” »


Colorado Bioneers Conference: A Field Trip to the Tiny House.

Each year, the University of Colorado hosts a satellite version of the National Bioneers Conference, which celebrates “Revolution from the Heart of Nature.”

The national conference features speakers working on the forefront of environmental sciences and activism, bringing environmentalism to everyday

We welcomed an enthusiastic group of 25 Bioneers attendees to step inside the tiny house, and to ask questions about the construction process, the film, and our exploration of the greater tiny house movement.

Colorado Bioneers from CU Environmental Center on Vimeo.


Tiny House Construction Update: Windows and a Small Setback.

Window Tape

Window Tape
Photo by Kevin Hoth

Part of building a house with no experience is learning as we go. We make mistakes, sometimes cringing, sometimes laughing, mostly agreeing that each snafoo will add to the charm of the finished product. But today’s mistake turned out to be pretty expensive, and a little tough on our morale. Continue reading “Tiny House Construction Update: Windows and a Small Setback.” »