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Tiny: A Story about Living Small    cover photo

Tiny: A Story about Living Small 2013

Highly Recommended

Distributed by First Run Features, 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1213, New York, NY 10036; 212-243-0600
Produced by Merete Mueller and Christopher
Directed by Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith
DVD , color, 88 min.

General Adult
Architecture, Buildings, Design, Documentaries, Ecological Living, Environmentalism

Date Entered: 10/09/2014

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

A small budget film about limited square footage houses, Tiny also points to a popular movement where larger issues such as accepted concepts of space and place, environmentalism, consumerism, and the meaning of home are considered. When Generation Y filmmaker Smith decided to build his dream home in Colorado, it was not the typical 2600+ square foot dwelling most Americans associate with acceptable living space. Smith went in the opposite direction and instead, along with girlfriend and co-producer Mueller, built a 124 square foot home, at the cost of approximately $26,000. Mueller documented the one-year long DIY building process, from Smith’s purchase of the land where the house would sit through to its delivery to the site. In addition to their own voice-over narration, interviews with sustainable community scholars and experts, along with the many ordinary people across the country who have made little houses their homes, help frame the argument that bigger is not better. For these small house enthusiasts, the current penchant for over-sized and over-stuffed McMansions, while good for some sectors of the economy, does large-scale and long-term harm to the environment and culture. Told with a light touch, the message is serious one.

Extra features include a short about sustainable communities; extended interview comments by The Big Tiny (Penguin, 2014) author Dee Williams; an urban planning conference in Boise, Idaho, that Smith and Mueller attended; deleted scenes and a filmmaker question and answer session that details both the building of the house and the making of the film.