Jon Alpert and Matt O'Neill's Documentary "Redemption"

Friday, February 08, 2013

Directors Jon Alpert and Matt O’Neill discuss their Academy Award-nominated documentary short “Redemption.” They’re also joined by Susan, who is featured in the film, about New York City’s growing “canning” profession—more and more men and women survive redeeming bottles and cans they collect from curbs, garbage cans and apartment complexes. “Redemption” is an unexpected and intimate look at New York City’s post-industrial gleaners, struggling at the edge of society. "Redemption" is playing at IFC Center through February 14.


Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

Comments [7]

Sabrina from manhattan

Walter is my dad, He passed away this past August, was struck by the Amtrak train in nyc, right where he lived for 20 yrs. may he RIP..I think he would have had a sense of satisfaction watching this film because he got to tell his story. Homelessness and poverty can hit anyone, ppl need to stop judging, and help.He was a loving , cool grandfather, dad, brother, uncle, friend..and a veteran. He lived independantly and never robbed any one or asked for handouts. I miss him very much.

Feb. 15 2013 09:46 PM
Dee from London

What is it you people don't get about desperation? You think someone collecting cans for nickels could easily do something else? Try it for a day and see how you get on. Why do you right wingers hang out in the web anyway, looking to comment and spew your bile? Isn't that the moral equivalent of what you accuse these people of?

Now, out your money where your mouth is and go help someone in need, or offer them a job, or buy then a meal.

Feb. 09 2013 06:09 AM
emjayay from Brooklyn

"Canning" means putting up fruit and vegetables in cans or jars for preservation purposes. We already have a word for taking redeemable cans and bottles and cashing them them. It's called "stealing".

I'm sure it's a fascinating subculture for a documentary film or story or article, as is the Mafia or Gypsies or say pickpockets in London for Dickens. But none of them call for the warm and fuzzy uncritical approach heard (as ususal) on WNYC.

Feb. 08 2013 02:09 PM
emjayay from Brooklyn

Taking redeemable cans and bottles is not a job. It is stealing. Should a modern society provide ways for people to exist? Yes. Stealing is not a viable means. If someone can spend 4 plus hours a day stealing cans and bottles, they can do something productive. It is irresponsible for WNYC to look at this issue through their usual rose tinted glasses.

The deposit/redemption system does not work in urban areas. In the suburbs, people have room to store recyclables and simply occasionally toss them in the back of the car and take them in when they are going to the supermarket. There they will find a clean, nicely lit, heated or air conditioned room at with clean, operating machines ready to take their cans and bottles and return a receipt for the 5 cents each they were charged when purchasing.

In urban areas, people most often walk to the store. Even if they drive, they will find a dirty often outdoor area with often full or nonfunctioning redemption machines. The functioning machines will no doubt have people lined up monopolising the machines, redeeming stolen cans and bottles from bags containing hundreds. So everyone knows you just have to forget about it and put the cans and bottles in your recycling can. From where people steal all the deposit cans and bottles.

Even taking cans and bottles from a public can is stealing from the rest of us. The stolen cans and bottles reduce the amount the recycling company gets and increases our taxes and garbage fees.

Urban areas should put out recycling cans that can't be pilfered from wherever there are garbage cans, like the ones at the Staten Island Ferry terminal. All commercial and residential buildings of all sizes should be required to provide something like that as well. People attempting to steal the cans and bottles should be cited.

But more fundamentally the whole program should be rethought and reconfigured to make it work.

Feb. 08 2013 01:44 PM

Sobering. When I see people moving carts full of bottles and cans, I find myself thinking of ragpickers — the people at the very bottom of the economic ladder in 19th century London and New York. They literally picked over the rags discarded by others.

Feb. 08 2013 01:22 PM

Did they distribute their film to Canns?

Feb. 08 2013 01:22 PM

Is canning legal? I thought it was illegal to take cans and bottles from residents' recycling containers. I've noticed a good amount of caution on the part of those who do it.

Feb. 08 2013 01:19 PM

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