The Christmas tree trade in New York City is a massive business, and every holiday season, hundreds of thousands of trees are sold on the sidewalks of the city. Competition is fierce, and it serves as the foundation for an upcoming feature documentary from Celia Aniskovich, director of Call Me Miss Cleo. Aniskovich is directing and producing The Merchants of Joy (w/t), which comes from Boat Rocker, the company behind War Game, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Hulu’s Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields.
The doc will follow five families who are both street corner capitalists and Christmas enthusiasts as they source, negotiate, and hustle to sell as many trees as they can in the city that never sleeps. This love letter to the people that make Christmas happen in New York City year after year was inspired by an article published in Epic Magazine in December 2022.
Todd Lubin and Jack Turner will executive produce for Boat Rocker’s Matador Content alongside Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier for Boat Rocker. Aniskovich and Zoe Vock will produce for Dial Tone Films along with Arthur Spector, Joshua Davis, and Josh Bearman for Epic Magazine.
“I founded Dial Tone Films to tell stories of human connection,” said Aniskovich. “The Merchants of Joy is a love letter to the people that make Christmas happen in New York City.” She added that she was thrilled to be partnering with Boat Rocker and Matador Content to shake up this snow globe in the greatest city on earth.
“From turf wars to trade secrets, the intrigue and personalities featured in The Merchants of Joy should make this an instant holiday classic,” said Todd Lubin, President of Boat Rocker Studios Unscripted. He added that much like her previous films, Celia had assembled an unconventional yet endearing cast of characters; they were so happy to be partnering with her and Epic on this evergreen film.