Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 12, 2011.

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A short documentary that captures intimate portraits of 3 New Yorkers on a journey through the culture of dumpster diving for food.

Spoils: Extraordinary Harvest is a short documentary that captures intimate portraits of 3 New Yorkers on a journey through the culture of dumpster diving, illuminating a practice as old as agriculture.

About the film

An aging artist, his young assistant, and blind friend arrive by rusted retro car; a Puerto Rican woman and her teenage grandson embark on foot, lead by a rattling grocery cart; a hyperactive twenty-something and his stoned companion leave a Bushwick loft to navigate the subway.  Familiar faces and converging philosophies meet to take what others deem unworthy of consumption. The reward of a free and delicious discovery activates a ritual adventure – a night of extraordinary harvest.

Every evening, long after rush hour, a series of dumpsters are rolled out onto the sidewalks in front of a high-end grocery store in a wealthy neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.  A small, yet diverse crowd materializes in the yellow streetlight near the loading entrance to await a bounty of discarded food.  As employees passively wheel out containers of expired, nearly expired, blemished, dented, smushed, or seemingly perfect edibles, the gleaners rummage through clear plastic bags and often salvage enough to last a week or more.  These foodstuffs can be found on the shelves of the supermarket just hours before.  And if not for the dumpster divers, these "spoils" are destined for a landfill.

more info: Official Website

Interview on the Kickstarter blog:http://kck.st/lZpeW6

Why am I making this film?

Most have people have a similar reaction when I tell them about dumpster diving: "gross".   An incredible amount of food is wasted everyday across the country.  I want to tell the story.  I want people see the waste.  I want to show that it's not that gross and that all kinds of people do it.

I decided to approach the subject with an observational style - cinema verite.  I certainly don't claim unobstructed truth like some early innovators of this technique, but I do believe in the technique as a way to give more interpretative freedom to the audience.  We don't definitely need to be told a huge amount of food is being wasted if we can see it.

Personally, I have been dumpster diving for several years.  I made friends with fellow divers and through these encounters am able to share the story with you.

The Team

Directed, shot, and edited by Alex Mallis

Sound recording by

Lily Henderson, Matthew Lubicky, & Geoffrey Feinberg

What will the money be used for?

The funds will be used to offset the costs of color correction, sound mixing, HDCAM mastering, and festival submission.  This stuff is all crazy expensive.  At this point, I've gone as far as I can out-of-pocket and with the amazing in-kind help of friends.

Spoils movie poster (designed by Nathaniel Raymond):

Some production stills:

FAQ

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