REVIEW: Tree Man (2016)

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2015, 166 Productions Inc.

Directors:
Jon Reiner
Brad Rothschild
Producers:
Jon Reiner
Brad Rothschild
John Scott Cook
Jennifer Davidoff Cook
David W. Leitner
Writers:
Jon Reiner
Brad Rothschild
John Scott Cook
Cinematography:
David W. Leitner
Editing:
John Scott Cook

In time for the holidays, this great documentary takes a look at the world of the people who go to New York City for an entire month to sell Christmas trees for the locals, being away from their families juts in order to help them.

Francois hails from Quebec, Canada. Every year in time for the holidays, he travels 300 miles from his home to New York City for one month with one thing in mind: selling Christmas trees to help his family. Upon his arrival to the Big Apple, he shows that he is not an ordinary tree seller. Francois’s arrival means a lot to to locals.

He has his own “family” in New York City, ranging from two young locals, Jason and Nelson, who help him by delivering the trees bought to even fellow tree sellers who have arrived from various regions, who don’t see themselves as competitors, but a community who come together with the same goal. For Francois, it’s not just about the job, but it is about a place he truly calls his second home, and with good reason.

This documentary, from the duo of Jon Reiner and Brad Rothschild, takes a look at the New York City Christmas tree seller. However, in the case of the sellers in this film, they are not local, but come from various regions such as New England, Vermont, and in the case of the documentary’s focus, Francois, Canada. This tradition of sellers had started in 1851 with upstate New York man Mark Carr cutting down three dozen trees and bringing them to New York City to sell them.

The audience gets to see Francois’s family life in Quebec just hours before he makes his annual trip to the Big Apple to sell trees. He is truly a happy family man when around his wife and children. However, what is astounding is that when he makes his journey and arrival in New York City, he is greeted with a warm reception by those around him. He has many people around him who help him out and the customers just love him. He brings joy to everyone around him and who would have thought the directors of this very film actually started out as customers of his and were intrigued by his story.

While the main focus is on Francois, we get to meet other “tree men and women”, who are just like Francois. They come from various parts away to make a living selling trees and like Francois, they sleep in campers and vans at night so they can get right on the job the following day. One tree seller even says they one night a week, they all get together for dinner to share notes and help each other on how to keep selling. This alone proves that it’s not always competition, but a respectable community who share a common goal. We are even introduced to Jill, a local resident who befriended Francois to where she would cook for him and gave him a key to her apartment in times he needs a shower. This is exactly the kind of warmth and love Francois gets when he spends his one month in New York City to do what he can for his family in Quebec.

Tree Man takes a look at what some may consider to be an ordinary job but brings an extraordinary tale of the love and warmth brought by Francois, who proves himself to be a variation of Santa Claus from Thanksgiving to Christmas doing what he does best and gets nothing but love from the New York City locals.

WFG RATING: A

XLrator Media will be releasing this film on VOD and iTunes on December 6.

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