Directed by Jon Reiner and Brad Rothschild, Tree Man centers on Francois, a Quebec native who ventures each year to New York City to sell Christmas trees. Setting shop on the corner of Broadway and 102nd street, Francois’ friendly and candid demeanor has endeared him to various Big Apple customers. Though the documentary also spotlights various tree sellers of New York and Francois’ loyal employees, most of the documentary is seen through his point of view.
“When I saw the whole thing evolving with the music, the editing, and everything that was going into the final story – that was just amazing,” said Francois. “I never thought the documentary would be so good. It doesn’t mean that I don’t trust the two directors, for me it was just a much smaller project than it ended up being.”
Along with the documentary, Francois has also been the spotlight of various news articles which, along with aiding his business, has also made him a recognizable face around the neighborhood.
“When you’re famous, everything changes,” said Francois. “Some people who were buying trees without even noticing that I was a human being a year before the film, now consider me as their friend. It’s interesting how much the visibility and the fact that being kind of notorious changes the way people act to you.”
Currently recovering from a hernia, Francois is staying in Quebec with his family this holiday season, as he understands the rigors of tree selling demands a healthy mind and body.
“It’s kind of a dog day afternoon,” said Francois. “You’re doing the same thing every day. You’re stuck at the same geographical position for 35 days. You’re always using the same muscles and you have to work intelligently. You can’t fall sick when you’re (in New York City). That’s why this year I didn’t go because I didn’t know if I could finish the whole thing. Lifting trees and working 15 hours a day – it’s a crazy job. Most of the people working that job are much younger than I am.”
Tree Man is now out on VOD and iTunes via XLrator Media.