Experiencing Interruptions?

The Tree House

Dora, a 45-year-old biologist lives alone in an isolated house, where she conducts an ethically questionable research. Looking for a partner she can trust, she hires a new caretaker, Mateus, not realizing that he is also hiding his own secrets. Gradually, the two grow closer and Mateus finally discovers more about Dora's research: human composting. Mateus, who applied for the job in search of his father, who he believes to have worked at the house before disappearing without reporting, confronts Dora, but she manages to lure him like prey into her office, in the Tree House.

  • Flávio Ermírio
    Shorts: Impenetrable (2017), All Heart (2018), Personal Cult (2020)
  • Franz Keppler
    Black Rain (TV Series - Canal Brazil)
  • Pedro Bosnich
  • Cris Wersom
    Key Cast
  • Pedro Bosnich
    Key Cast
  • Rosi Campos
    Key Cast
  • Leonardo Miggiorin
    Key Cast
  • Plinio HIguti
    Director of Photography
  • Maria Fernanda Suppo
    Art Direction
  • José Fernando Nolf
    Art Direction
  • Raphael Balbino
  • Tiago Valverde
    Mix And Sound Design
  • João Caserta
    Mix And Sound Design
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    A Casa da Árvore
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Thriller, Drama, Psychologic Thriller
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 20 minutes 42 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Flávio Ermírio

Director, screenwriter and playwright with experiences in important training centers such as New York University (screenplay for cinema and television), ESPA Primary Stages (dramaturgy), and Yale University (direction for Theater) and, in Brazil, SESI/British Dramaturgy Center Council. In 2011 he founded White Sweet Taco Produções Artísticas Ltd., a cultural production, courses and consultancy company.

Back in Brazil, he founded Operahaus, a school and production company of cinema, theater and music, where he developed and taught courses for Screenwriting and TV Series and supervised dozens of short productions between 2013 and 2016.

At the production company, he was the script development coordinator of the winning team of Prodav 03 - Núcleos Criativos 2014, the largest public development prize for scripts.
During the project, he coordinated the team of screenwriters who together developed 7 fiction projects, including 3 TV series and 4 feature films. Of these, he was the Head Writer of the series 5 Minutes - Women's Police Station, project that had its script selected as one of the 10 finalists of the Porto Alegre Script Festival, the largest festival in Latin America for an audiovisual script.

In 2015 he was selected for the Sesi / British Council New Playwrights, an one year residency program of playwriting study in São Paulo, winner of the Shell Theater Award (most prestigious theater award in Brazil) for the encouragement and training of new playwrights. During the residency, he developed the play "Tchaikovsky: Carried by the sea", a symphonic play based on Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony.

In 2016, he was awarded the "Fomento ao Teatro" prize, the largest theater prize in Sao Paulo, with the company Arte e Ciência no Palco, a group with more than 15 years of experience and several awards, where he participated as guest playwright contributing and coordinating the collective elaboration of the dramaturgy of the company’s new show, Prometheus Shattered, a contemporary rereading of the Promethean myth from the perspective of the fragmentation of content and knowledge in the digital age. The play premiered in May 2017 at the Cultural Workshops Oswald de Andrade with the direction of Carlos Palma.

In 2017, he made the production, translation and acted as assistant director for the brazilian production of Neil Labute’s In a Forest, Dark and Deep.

In 2018, worked as an Assistant Director with director José Fernando Peixoto de Azevedo, with the highlight being the play “Navalha na Carne Negra”, with nominations for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Play of the Year.

His latest play, Fabula y Roda de los Tres Amigos, a play inspired by the friendship of Salvador Dali, Garcia Lorca and Luis Buñuel at the beginning of the 20th century, premiered in July 2019 in Sao Paulo in co production with SESC.

His first short film, Impenetrable (2016) participated at the Short Film Corner of Cannes, Official Selection of the 7th. Festival Dada Saheb in India, Official Selection of the 35th. Oscar Qualifying Rhode Island Film Festival, Kuala Lumpur Independent Film Festival, 12th BLOW-UP FILM FESTIVAL Chicago, 3rd Cinema Los Angeles and won the award for Best Foreign Film at the London Independent Film Awards.

His second short film, Toda Coração, was recorded in 2017 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. The film is an impact fiction that will be used as a tool to discuss the humanization of medical care. Toda Coração was selected in 5 international festivals, with emphasis on the 11th. Bay Area International Children's Film Festival, and is available for public viewing on the Videocamp platform.

He is an associate producer of the Documentary Industry Encouragement Event, DOCSP, now in its 6th edition, in partnership with Unibes Cultural, Spcine and Sao Paulo’s Culture Secretary of State.

In 2019, was one of the 16 directors selected to be part of Yale’s Summer Directing Workshop.

During 2020, began the rehearsals of the brazilian premiere of Alan Bowne’s Beirut as Director, having to cancelled the play two weeks before its premiere, due to the COVID19 pandemic.

In 2021, directed two shorts films and his first Feature Film, The Tree House.

Since 2021 has been working as Artistic Supervision Assistant at Gullane, one of the leading cinema production company in Brazil.

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Director Statement

I never imagined my first feature film would be a movie like The Tree House: a psychological, low budget, thriller shot during the pandemic with a third of the necessary crew, at least half the time and one tenth of the budget I would normally assume was needed to shoot such a project. But being a product of its time, a film that main photography happened in Mid 2021, we knew that nothing about it would be normal.

These challenging circumstances resulted in a film that is as strange as its process - an unusual thriller that flirts with other genres and that possesses a unique language and rhythm to it. A very different movie than the one I imagined doing at the beginning of the whole process, and a much better movie than I ever expected to direct as my first feature, exactly because we were forced to move away from genre paradigms and “normal” resources to discovery an authentic, reinvented way of thinking about, shooting and editing a film, without the expectations we created and rules we learned we should follow as “proper filmmakers”.

With a female protagonist over 40 years old occupying a place usually assigned to men in cinema - that of head of house, specialist, scholar -, the film also breaks with the majority logic of gender in cinema. Even more, it fearlessly explores the desires and contradictions of a complex character, who little by little reveals her intentions and layers.

The flashbacks layer arises from the biography of Dora's character, inspired by Freud's emblematic Dora Case Study. In this case, as in our story, Dora is a woman who was the victim of sexual abuse when she was a child, by a friend of her father. Mr. Bauer, Dora's father, however, does not believe in his own daughter and defends his friend. The lack of trust and affection to which the 12-year-old girl was subjected ended up generating traumatic issues regarding trust in the male gender. And that's exactly how our Dora, a 45-year-old biologist who grew up in the shadow of her brilliant and tough father, arrives in our plot: A woman in search of her recognition - in her research, in her sexuality, in her values. A woman trying to overcome her traumas, but the past is hard to leave behind when your body have been so heavily marked with abuse and contempt.

Throughout the film, we follow Dora's internal struggle between opening up space and trusting Matheus, at the same time that her instinct - and trauma - tells her not to fully believe in that man. In the end, after unmasking Matheus' true intentions and recognizing in him the same corrupt morality that was in her late father and in other men she met, Dora makes a drastic decision to never be deceived by any man again.

There is one last aspect of the film that makes it even more relevant today, that is the discussion about Human Composting, an eco-friendly alternative to bury the dead that is becoming more and more legal throughout the world, including 6 states in the US already. Again, an issue that challenges our morality and forces us to face the environmental crisis in a more personal and philosophical way.