Your support will help pay the cost of editing and completing the one-hour documentary on the collaboration between dancer Allison Orr and employees of the Austin Department of Solid Waste Services--the trash collectors.
An unnoticed army moves a city’s trash daily. It’s a world of dirty work neatly categorized into five categories: Trash; Litter; Yard Waste; Bulky; and Dead Animal. Choreographer Allison Orr begins a project with employees of the City of Austin’s Dept. of Solid Waste Services to re-imagine their everyday work as dance and make a public performance. From safety training to riding out with crews, Orr watches, listens and tries to recruit collaborators. The film follows employees and Orr in the process, getting to know individuals. At ten months in, they begin ragtag rehearsals. After one year they mount a performance in the rain on an abandoned airstrip--16 trucks, 24 dancers, a piano, violin, and cello--and over 2,000 in attendance.
The “Austin American-Statesman” named it “best art event of 2010.” The 2010 Austin Critics’ Table awarded it “Best Dance Event." The effect on the participants and the audience continues to resonate.
That invisible workforce collecting trash in Austin is 98% minority-- African-American or Hispanic men and a handful of women. The work is dangerous and physically demanding. Yet many of the employees of the Dept. of Solid Waste Services have second jobs or go to school, in addition to raising families and other outside activities.
Anthony wants to make it big as a jam skater and open his own studio. Virginia works out at a boxing gym, prepares for her son’s baby shower and works in a daycare on Sundays. Orange plays harmonica in a blues band. Lee, a single father, says everything he does, he does for his seven-year-old daughter. Their lives are already full. They don’t ”need” a dance project for a meaningful experience. But some people do step forward to participate, changing how they see their jobs and how people see them.
The film will be a one-hour program completed in spring of 2011. Principal shooting is complete. The year leading up to the performance was shot intimately, as a one-person crew. The single performance was shot on 9 borrowed HD cameras with help of a mostly volunteer crew of professionals and students. The results are spectacular.
The premiere will be in Austin in spring 2011, including garbage trucks riding down Congress Avenue to deliver the stars to the red carpet. In addition to the full documentary, we will edit the performance into a stand-alone DVD as an extra, and create "Character Diaries" with additional material that can be unlocked and downloaded onto phones and laptops.
The Department of Solid Waste Services has asked about using the series of still portraits of employees, made for the film, as wrappers for the garbage trucks with the words “I dance," printed on them.