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How I Made It: Trees Under the Sun (2019)

Trees Under the Sun (2019) is a story about a Dalit family and their experiences, struggling to survive and make ends meet. The film also highlights how the socially backward communities in India face caste discrimination in their daily life even today.

A Dalit family comprising of a man, his wife, and their son, live on a backwater island in Kerala. During a heavy rainy season, their small house submerges in the floodwater. The family who lost their house and properties in the flood and eventually lost their job sets for Himachal Pradesh to work as guards for an apple orchard. They reside in a small house in the lone apple orchard in the middle of the Himalayan Mountains; the place, the language, and the culture, all being totally unfamiliar to that family.

With the changing seasons like winter, autumn, and summer, this film depicts the life of common people struggling hard with these seasons and nature to make a living.

108 Minutes | Malayalam | Drama | 2019 | India

In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Bijukumar Damodaran

Why this subject matter for your film?

This is the story of homeless people. In our country, many marginalized people have no land or home as their own. This is a reality existing in India. Especially for many Dalit families, still home is a dream that they cant make real. Also still in this so-called developed community, the people from lower castes have been experiencing a social outcast considering their cast and colour. These are realities and we can't deny this. That's why this subject became important.

Where did you find this story for this film? I personally know many people who belong to the Dalit community and do not have a home or land of their own. Since I am also from a Dalit community, I know very well the gravity of these issues. The story developed from some realities mixed up with some fiction elements.

What were the challenges you faced in making the film?

The film was shot in different climates. We waited for one and a half year to get all the seasons to portrait the film. The spring, summer and winter season in Himachal Pradesh, the rainy season in Kerala. So these were very difficult portions to shoot. The locations both in Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are in remote places. In Himachal, the house was situated on a remote hill and the whole crew needed to walk up about 3 Kilometre by carrying all the shoot equipments. Also in Kerala, the house was in a marshy place in the midst of an island. Shoot during the rainy season was too difficult. The winter season shot in Himachal was also very difficult. The crew from the south are not used to the winter season so the shoot in heavy winter was also a difficult one in Himachal.

Did you face any problems in releasing the film? As usual, the art-house movies are very difficult to get a theatre release in Kerala. The film has been re