National Film Festival for Talented Youth | Seattle Youth Film Festival | Student Film Festival


Sophie’s Tree

Film of the Week

A girl visits the innocence of her childhood by channeling the memories she share with a girl her subconscious mind created to warn her about the themes and conditions of adulthood. She struggles to let go of the security of her youth and longs for her departed vulnerability.

Sophie’s Tree was an official selection of NFFTY 2013 and screened under the category of Keep it Cinematic.

About the director:

max galassi

Max Galassi is a 16 year old award winning film maker from Newtown, Connecticut.  He currently attends Newtown High School as well as the Regional Center for the Arts where he studies film and photography. He most recently directed, filmed and edited his first feature length film with a cast and crew of 120. “Youth” was successfully funded through an Indiegogo video campaign created by Max, and was invited to be only the official film screened as part of the Newtown Arts Festival in September 2013.

At such a young age, Max defined his unique style through his work and has received great accolades. More often, viewers wonder what goes on in the minds of an experimental film director for them to create such powerful visuals to tell a story rather than going through the conventional way. We hear from Max himself about this.

Q: How did Sophie’s Tree come about? 

Max: Last year on December 14th, my town (Newtown, CT) was struck with tragedy. For the following weeks I was lost in the surreality my entire community was experiencing. When something so awful happens so close to you, and to so many people who you love it’s hard to expect beauty to prevail through all of the negative elements surrounding you, however I was and am still surprised with the amount of strength and resilience around me on a daily basis. Film has been my armor in the past but never quite like this. I needed to create something that exemplified the feeling I was experiencing and I could not communicate it in any other way. Sophie’s Tree is about a girl who longs for her departed innocence and vulnerability, and tries to channel it as she ventures into adulthood and experiences all of it’s downfalls. The character of Sophie is a tangible representation of the adulthood through the eyes of her younger self.

Q: Is there a tinge of homosexuality hinted in this film? 

Max: It was never my intent to hint at homosexuality, but the themes of struggle with adulthood and confusion that the film entails are closely related to the struggles and confusion that gay adolescents often experience. The film is about desire. The general desire through the film is the desire for vulnerability and innocence, and I tried to represent this in a very intimate way to project the intense level of yearning we experience when wanting something unachievable.

Q: Has taking part in NFFTY helped paved a way for your current career in film? 

Max: Last year was my second year attending NFFTY and it was the most valuable and insightful experience. Both years I learned so much and met so many amazing people. NFFTY is an incredible opportunity for young film makers.

Max is also our guest blogger of the week, where he discusses about experimental films and what got him into it here.

Find out more about Max at his website. 

You, you are an aspiring experimental film director that would love to showcase your work in as many platforms as possible. Well, submit to NFFTY and you are in it for a good treat! Want to be like Max and have a chance to interact with young filmmakers from all over the world? NFFTY is the best place to be at.

Submissions closes on 31st January 2014. Our next deadline is on 15th January 2014 before fees go up. Check out our submission page for more details.


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  1. Pingback: Why Experiment? - NFFTY

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