By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A short film shot entirely on South Beach is winning awards and getting plenty of international attention. The film The Woman Under The Tree is a 15-minute film, co-written and co-produced by Miami filmmakers, Roberto Donoso and Prashant Thakker.

It follows the life of a homeless woman named Lucia.

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“I used to live by Flamingo Park in South Beach, and I used to walk around and see the homeless people all the time and I’m always curious about their story,” said Thakker.  “How did they end up like this? Are they happy there? Everybody has a story, so I wanted to tell a story about a specific woman that was older and was just obsessed with a family that lives across the street.  I wanted to tell something fun and bring humanity back to the less desirable, as the community would call them.”

The film follows the homeless woman in South Beach, who spends most of her time sitting under a tree, as she watches the life of a family unfold in a house across the street.  What first looks like voyeurism grows into something deeper as audiences discover the meaning that her routine brings to her life.

“She has this routine that every day she sits there and watches this family, how their life unfolds through the house across the street. So as the story evolves you learn you find out why she has this habit and what it means to her and to her journey,” said Donoso.

The entire crew was local except for Bollywood director Karishma Kohli.

The Woman Under The Tree has won Jury and Audience Awards for Best Film and has screened in eighteen film festivals in ten countries, including the Miami Film Festival in 2020. It now can be seen on Apple TV and iTunes in 87 countries.

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“Out of 7,648 short films, a handful of short films make it on that platform.  I think the quality of our film meets Apple’s requirements, so we landed on a good platform,” Thakker explained.

“Is there an Oscar buzz? Could this be something that could go for an Oscar in the short film category?” asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“We are crossing our fingers,” both men said simultaneously. “That’s the dream.”

After Petrillo’s interview the team was told The Woman Under the Tree is eligible to submit for Oscar consideration.

They will be screening in it for audiences at O Cinema in Miami from September 10 – 16. It also remains on Apple TV.

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Lisa Petrillo