One of the many signs that it’s Christmastime in the city is the sight, sound and scent of the city’s sidewalk tree vendors. The annual arrival of the (mostly) jovial tree purveyors reminds us that bell-ringing Santas, office secret Santas, and bar-crawling Santas aren’t far behind. Each year thousands of trees are sold to New Yorkers to help them deck the halls for the season. But what about the people who sell those trees? A new documentary film, “Tree Man,” gives us a peek at the lives of the city’s tree sellers, many of whom leave families behind to camp out in sometimes harsh living conditions for the sake of their business.
“Tree Man” follows François, a father of three from Québec, who sets up shop on the same Manhattan street corner every year to help make the season merry for families he feels he’s almost been a part of for years. While the seasonal separation from loved ones back home makes the experience bittersweet, the tree sellers have formed their own family of sorts, bonding with one another—and with loyal customers who mark the time of year by the appearance of their favorite sellers, often posing for annual photos together. “There’s definitely a magic to being here…I don’t get to be so special at home. People see you as somebody magical and associated with the season.”
Directed by Brad Rothschild and John Reiner, “Tree Man” will be available on VOD and on iTunes on December 6 from XLrator Media.
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Images courtesy of XLrator Media.