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TINY: A Story About Living Small

3.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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  • TINY: A Story About Living Small
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

Packaged in a 100% Certified Green Forestry Practices Eco Pack

Review

"Like a perfectly realized tiny house, the film is compact, economical and elegant, a fitting testament to the spirit of the tiny house movement and the DIY trend in non-fiction filmmaking." --Merrie Whitmore, HotDocs Film Festival

"A story about learning to live large - about expanding our concept of what our domestic spaces can do for us, in connecting us to our communities, to nature, to our loved ones, and to our dreams." --Nora Ankrum, Austin Chronicle

"Highly recommended. It's an environmental piece without trying, and a rather in-depth look at the growing urge to move away from the excessive consumption of life to a more simple way of doing things." --William Brownridge, Toronto Film Scene

Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Smith, Merete Mueller
  • Directors: Christopher Smith, Merete Mueller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014
  • Run Time: 62 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00IT6QD7G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,422 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This relatively short (62 minutes) documentary about the “tiny houses” movement (where people give up many of their possessions) and build their own houses of less than 500 square feet (even as small as under 500 square feet of footprint) has been playing film festivals around the country. When 30 year-old Christopher Smith decided to “downsize” his life and build a 300 square foot house on a five-acre plot of land he bought in Colorado, he and his girlfriend Merete Mueller decided to turn the year-long project into a film. Smith had some film experience and Mueller was a writer. “Tiny” is the result. The two narrated the film and interviewed each other as well as paying visits to other “Tiny houses”. (Note that in most cases the sleeping areas were lofts reached by a ladder.). They also used a Kickstarter campaign to fund their project. It’s an interesting concept – one that I was not aware of and I’m glad I watched this film. The scenery of the Colorado mountain site where Smith was building the house (on the back of a trailer, I might add) is gorgeous and the image on the DVD is beautiful.
The bonus material more than doubles the running time of the film. There is a “making of” featurette and deleted scenes both of Smith and Mueller and some of the others who have built tiny houses. And then there is a nearly-30-minute segment with an interview at a film festival. Honestly, while I really enjoyed the film, I did get bored with some of the repetition in the bonus footage. But anyone interested in this concept will find it worthwhile. In fact the co-friendly cardboard case which holds the DVD has printed info on how to learn more about designing small spaces and downsizing.

This is a film that will fly under the radar and I’m glad that the folks at First Run Features (who provided the screener) are giving it wider distribution.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”
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I came across this film while searching on Netflix. Tiny housing has always fascinated me. We admired this couple's perseverance and optimism. Christopher never gave up. We have a son his age and Christopher and Merete's families should be so proud of them. We thoroughly enjoyed this documentary.
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While I can never imagine living in a "tiny house" I appreciate the spare and economical living style of those who choose to do so. This short documentary covers the story of Christopher Smith, who at nearly 30 years old, has little sense of place or home since he has moved so frequently during his youth in a military family. He buys a trailer bed and starts to build his tiny house in the backyard of someone in Colorado, and much of the documentary focuses on the process of building the house. Interspersed with his building process, we visit other tiny houses and meet their owners. Some people choose tiny house living out of economic necessity, but others choose this life style to simplify and hone their possessions to a bare minimum.

The documentary drags on at times with long scenes of Christopher's building process, whereas I would have preferred to see more variations of tiny houses and their owners. I think this documentary has the bones of a longer piece that could focus on the tiny house movement. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, where real estate is ridiculously expensive, we hear from time to time of people who are living in small homes. This is a perfect environment for people who want to live small but still enjoy everything the urban environment offers.
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Nine Things about the Movie “Tiny” [USA, 2014]

1. Capitalizing on the “maker” movement and the “downsizing” movement, this is supposed to be a small documentary (it’s barely an hour long) on the recent popularity of building tiny houses, which are houses under 400 square feet. But it’s not really a documentary. It’s a home-brewed screed against consumerism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I was hoping for a more balanced and informative piece of filmmaking.

2. The movie follows a guy named Chris as he buys a piece of land in the middle of nowhere in Colorado, and builds a tiny house on a trailer. Chris is assisted by his angst-ridden girlfriend, who stresses on what is the meaning of “home”, probably because she wants to move to New York City while her boyfriend is getting ready to leave the entire civilized world behind.

3. Even though the movie is only lasts an hour, it’s about 30 minutes too long. It makes all of its points very quickly, and then repeats them over and over. This is why, in between watching scenes of Chris building his house like an HGTV special, we see lots of pictures of other tiny houses. Lots of pictures. Lots of them.

4. The movie also interviews other “tiny housers” while they wax romantic about their life perspectives. They are earnest and friendly, but they come off sounding a little smug and pretentious. They give us nuggets of wisdom like:
“The world gets a lot bigger when you’re living small.”
“The whole world is now my living room.”
“I wanted to be larger than the small person that I needed to be in my big house.”

5. Very little discussion is given to the problems of tiny houses, such as storage, occupancy, and privacy.
Read more ›
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