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How Much to Go to the Trees Q&A With the Safdie Bros. and Alex Kalman

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It's that time of year again: time to transform your home into a cozy, deforested forest.

This short film was made in 2007 for T Magazine at the New York Times, by celebrated director siblings Josh & Benny Safdie (Daddy Longlegs, The Pleasure of Being Robbed) and Alex Kalman (Buttons). It was written by the directors along with Anthony Sperduti and Andy Spade, who appears. How Much To Go To The Trees depicts a quandary common to New Yorkers, we of so few trees. Do you center your Christmas on artifice, or go natural and kill a tree? Below, the directors (who were actually raised Jewish) answered a few of my holiday-related questions.

Do you do anything fun around the holidays, these days?
We like to celebrate celebrations -- and not just the holidays. We will surely be eating Latkes -- probably at Alex's mom's house. Our most religious tradition is going to the Polar Bear swim at Coney Island on the morning of January 1st to ring in the New Year. We all go every year now for three years -- followed by lunch at Katz's with a huge family eating, matzah ball, soup and pastrami sandwiches.

Do you guys get Christmas trees for your homes, or have you lived with anybody who did? Artificial or real? Do you favor a species (e.g. frasier fir, spruce, aluminum)?
We don't really do the Christmas tree thing. Although we were told that the largest manufacturer of artificial Christmas trees is Jewish and likes them because they seem like oversized toilet scrub brushes.

Any plans to make other holiday-related films or books? Home video of Hanukkah 1989? Please?
None that come to mind. Although each film or book represents a holiday to us -- just not necessarily a commonly celebrated holiday. We are right now working on creating a massive brochure of the weird and underground vernacular obsessions we have -- a skewed American dream catalog of crap -- perhaps this is pretty holiday related however won't be finished for probably another year or so.


Brett, Alex, Lola, Sam and Ben of Red Bucket Films


For more info on Red Bucket Films, check out their voluminous website. Those Safdies have a "shorter film" called John's Gone that recently premiered in Venice.

Happy Hanukkah. And enjoy your Christmas trees.

This article was originally published on CHRISTM.US, your charity holiday blog.