1998 | 29 minutes | Color/BW | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 00658


Shame and embarrassment propel Savannah, a gifted high school student, to embark on a journey through space and time to witness the prison convictions of her great-grandmother Etta Mae, her grand-aunt Olive, and her aunt Denise. The fanciful and chilling tales of a delightfully vain maid in the 1920s, a hopelessly depressed nanny in the 1950s, and a mother frustrated during the holiday season in the 1980s, help Savannah reconcile her feelings about her own past in this touching coming-of-age story. An imaginative, thoroughly engaging drama that speaks volumes about identity and self-worth, TREE SHADE will have special appeal to teenage viewers and delight audiences of all ages.


"Lisa Collins' 'Tree Shade' ... boldly goes where few films dare to venture in her dizzying, genre-crossing, time-hopping trip through the lives of four generations of African American women."

Mill Valley Festival Catalog

"...features an unforgettable high-camp character called Nefertiti Claus who puts our more familiar childhood myths to shame."

Andrea Meyer IndieWire Magazine

“'Tree Shade', a remarkable debut film by Lisa Collins shot entirely MOS, took the award for best American short...Three and a half years in the making, the completion of 'Tree Shade' is as much a story of triumph over adversity as the film itself...”

IndieWire Magazine

"'Tree Shade' is a magical, imaginative trip through a family's past where images of reality and fantasy often become one. Lisa Collin's talent for characterization and storytelling is quite evident and truly a rare delight."

Michelle Materre Media Consultant


  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Avignon/New York Film Festival, Best American Short Film
  • New Works Festival, Polo Ralph Lauren AwNew Works Festival, Polo Ralph Lauren Award for Best Film and Filmmaker Magazine's Audience Choice Award
  • New York Women's Film Festival
  • Newport International Film Festival
  • Nantucket Film Festival
  • Student Academy Award
  • DGA Student Filmmaker Awards, Best African-American Student Filmmaker


Lisa Collins

Lisa Collins earned her Master’s in Screenwriting and Directing from Columbia University Film School, with a B.A. from Yale in American Studies/Photography. Currently, she’s the Sr. Editor/Sr. Segment Producer for Hollywood.com. She wrote, directed and executive produced two shorts: MISS RUBY’S HOUSE, a mockumentary; and TREE SHADE a surreal black comedy that garnered the Gold Medal for Best Alternative Film at the Student Academy Awards, and was invited to festivals including: Sundance, Atlanta, Seattle, Newport, Avignon and Cannes. It headlined PBS’s "Reel New York" series; won several top fest prizes and a DGA award. She work shopped her script, THE GRASS IS GREENER at the Sundance Screenwriters and Filmmakers Labs.

With several projects cooking in development, Lisa’s most recent, OSCAR’S COMEBACK is a complex documentary inspired by the Oscar Micheaux Film Festival in Gregory, South Dakota, about an all-white town celebrating its famous native son--early 1900s black film pioneer Oscar Micheaux. Shot over four summers, she’s directed and produced it with co-director/producer Mark Schwartzburt. The doc-in-progress has been awarded grants from the South Dakota Humanities Council and NYSCA.

Coming-of-age in a conflicted, racially diverse Brooklyn and being a first-generation American of Jamaican/Cuban parents serves as a source of endless inspiration, humor and raw material. (8/14)


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