Philly-based filmmaker Adam Evans's latest film, the 15-minute short film Pine Tree, arrives on Amazon Prime on April 17th after a successful festival run that included awards for Best Fiction Film and Best Film at the Pottstown in Focus Festival and screenings at multiple other festivals over the past couple years.
Pine Tree tells the story of an obsessive carpenter (Tobias Segal, John Wick: Chapter 2, Sneaky Pete) forced to re-evaluate his life and his relationship with Florence (Dre Davis, Pretty Little Liars, Madame Hollywood) when his latest creation, a beautifully crafted table, begins to speak to him.
At its core, Pine Tree explores the creative journey and the difficulty in releasing to the world that which we create whether that be via woodworking or filmmaking or whatever medium in which we find ourselves. In some ways quirky, yet intimate and sweet, Pine Tree never really judges the world in which Ryan, our obsessive carpenter, lives but instead sort of companions him as he begins to realize that his inability to let go is directly impacting the world around him in very tangible ways.
As someone who has been a film journalist for years, I've interviewed everyone from Oscar winners to first-timers to high school students just figuring out how to operate a camera or act on cue and, almost without fail, the feelings, thoughts and ideas presented in Pine Tree exist within all of them from the anxiety of presenting one's creation for others to that terrifying moment when someone is locking their eyes and ears and entire being on this creation of yours. Pine Tree explores these things, yet in a way that more embodies a sense of magical realism, we are talking about a talking/humming table after all, and maybe even an understanding that our environment is part of our creative process and is just as vital to the experience.
Cody Taylor's production design is simply extraordinary, offering up an enveloping earthiness that is both comforting and, at times, a little unnerving. The original music by Erik Rodriguez is also top notch throughout, while kudos must be given for David Dominguez's lensing.
However, much of the credit for Pine Tree's success must also be given to co-leads Tobias Segal and Dre Davis, who seem to understand precisely where Evans is going here and bring this story to life in ways that are surprisingly touching with hints of humor. Segal wisely plays Ryan not as some weird, troubled young man but as a young man still fumbling his way through the creative process and learning how to manage it all. It's an insightful, intelligent performance with just the perfect touch of quirk. Dre Davis, on the other hand, gives Pine Tree much of its heart-center as a delightful young woman perplexed by this young man who has created a world where she's not sure she's actually welcome.
Pine Tree will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime on April 17th. Be sure to check it out this week!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic