Unconventional Cast, Extraordinary Hustle: Behind the Scenes of New York City’s Christmas Tree Trade with ‘The Merchants of Joy’


Exploring the High-Stakes World of Christmas Tree Vendors in New York City through a Documentary

New York City’s Christmas tree trade is a booming industry, with hundreds of thousands of trees sold on the sidewalks every holiday season. The competition is fierce, but that hasn’t stopped five families from making it their livelihood. Celia Aniskovich, director and producer of the new documentary “The Merchants of Joy (w/t)”, is capturing their journey in her film.

Aniskovich has assembled an unconventional cast of characters who are both street corner capitalists and Christmas enthusiasts. She will follow them as they source, negotiate, and hustle to sell as many trees as possible in the city that never sleeps.

“I founded Dial Tone Films to tell stories of human connection,” said Aniskovich. “The Merchants of Joy is a love letter to the people who make Christmas happen in New York City, year after year.”

Boat Rocker Studios Unscripted President Todd Lubin and SVP of Scripted and Documentary Content Jack Turner are executive producing the documentary alongside Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier for Boat Rocker. Aniskovich and Zoe Vock are producing for Dial Tone, along with Arthur Spector, Joshua Davis, and Josh Bearman for Epic Magazine.

“From turf wars to trade secrets, the intrigue and personalities featured in The Merchants of Joy should make this an instant holiday classic,” said Lubin. “Much like her previous films, Celia has assembled an unconventional and endearing cast of characters; we’re so happy to be partnering with her and Epic on this evergreen film.”

Joshua Davis added that what they didn’t realize was that the Christmas tree business is a year-round hustle that Celia began filming with extraordinary passion in January 2023.

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