As the prospect of owning a property becoming increasingly remote for young people, new documentary Small is Beautiful presents a handful of people who are eschewing conventional routes to home owning and building tiny stick-built houses on utility trailers. They're representatives of what is becoming a global tiny-house movement. It’s cheap, it’s portable and it’s all theirs.

In the film, Australian filmmaker Jeremy Beasley takes his camera to Portland, Oregon in the USA to document the emerging movement. What results is a cross between Grand Designs and Portlandia, as relationships are pushed to make-or-break point in the pursuit of a unique artisanal dream.

Much of the film works to de-romanticise building – and living in – a tiny house, and to complicate what could be seen as an idyllic off-the-grid lifestyle, touching on the bureaucratic fights and steep learning curves, and topping it all off with lots of footage of people with little or no building experience operating power tools in the freezing cold. There’s also a strong focus on what, financial considerations aside, drives people to build a house small enough to tow. Hint: it’s about more than freedom from mortgages.

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It’s an effective, small-focus film, with an accordingly tiny premiere season of just four days. There’s also a real-deal tiny house on site to inspect for yourself. Who knows, perhaps it’ll beat the minuscule one-bedroom apartment in that outer suburb you were saving for.

This film is available for download at