Logline: A sick child befriends a magical tree when her mother suddenly disappears and her father becomes dangerous.
Length: 9 minutes
Director: Frances E. Chang
Producer: Georgina Glez
About the director and producer: Frances E. Chang is known for producing independent film for the past 7 years and is a graduate of USC's Peter Stark Producing Program. She strives to champion underrepresented voices, both off and on screen.
Georgina Glez is also a graduate of USC's Peter Stark Producing Program. She is interested in film production and distribution and currently produces in California as well as in and with Mexico.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Funders: University of Southern California
Made in association with:
University of Southern California
Release date: May 20, 2016
Congratulations! Why did you make a film called THE HEALING TREE?
THE HEALING TREE was a fantasy of mine. Being chronically ill for as long as I can remember, I have always wished that I could plant a fruit tree that would magically heal me. Unintentionally, my mom planted a jujube tree right outside my window, and I would see it through the seasons. This was the seed of the idea, and I wanted to show the beauty in the darkness in our lives through this film. Oddly, the story came very easily to me.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I believe that this film is different from other animated short films and that audiences would have a new experience watching this one. As an animation, our film is a drama; most animated shorts are comedies. We also represent a small minority of Cantonese-speakers as well as a very talented and unusual mix of Chinese and Latin-American filmmakers. Most importantly, it is a great emotional story that will touch your heart.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
First and foremost, the story is about the unbreakable love between a mother and daughter, which is the relationship that exists between my mother and I and that many can also relate to. The film follows a young girl as she ages, and we're with her as she faces difficulties in life.
It is very much a similar journey that we all take since we experience both the good and the bad in our lives. Likewise, the girl in the story remembers the memory of her mother for her entire life, which represents what we each hold dear and take with us to the very end.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
We came into production with a solid script; the story was everything that it should and could be. We definitely had our challenges during our 4-month production that we had to make it work during editing. The main goal for me was to still tell the complete story that was in the script, but many of my original stylistic ideas had to be sacrificed for story clarity, which was very important for us in the end.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Feedback has been positive. Many have complimented the story itself, the style, and its message. They've even noted the cinematic approach to the storytelling in this animated piece. I'm glad they noticed that since this was one of my intentions coming into this project.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback has mostly been a confirmation of my vision for this film since I'm glad that the story, theme, tone, and message came across to audiences. I wanted to create a film that had a great solid story with a specific style that represents me as a storyteller.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I simply want to spread the word about the film itself and encourage people to check it out. We worked so hard on the film, and it's a project near and dear to me that I want to share it with as many people as I can.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We need someone who loves or strongly believes in the film and us as filmmakers that will help us push the message. We're open and looking for sales agents, distributors, film festival directors, and journalists who can get the film up on more screens.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would like audiences to remember the film, whether it is the story that moves them, the style that intrigues them, or the characters that they connect with. I would also like to see the emergence of more dark fantasy films driven by story.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
As an animation, is this film meant for kids?
Animation is mostly associated with children and, therefore, are usually fun and innocent. However, the film is dark but it's subtle; there is a specific scene that I'm thinking about. I see the animation more not as a film for kids or adults but as a different medium to tell these kind of stories.
1Would you like to add anything else?
We will be screening alongside other short films with the Creative Minds Group at Marché du Film at the 69th Festival de Cannes:
Friday, May 20, 2016
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I'm currently developing a fantasy-drama feature film called AUGUST HEAVEN about a tomboy Chinese-Vietnamese girl living in a war-torn, man's world who must learn how to become a modern woman as she escapes a fallen Saigon in 1975. My producer is finishing her first feature documentary, KILIWAS AT DUSK, as well as producing others.