Art is where you find it, and in the case of choreographer Allison Orr, it’s in the garbage, specifically in the work of the Department of Solid Waste Services in Austin, Texas. DOXA Documentary Film Festival’s Motion Pictures Film Series and Capilano University are proud to present Andrew Garrison’s remarkable film Trash Dance.
Allison spent a year riding along with the employees of the Sanitation Department, observing not only their daily routines -- everything from recycling and garbage collection to retrieving dead animals alongside the highway. But convincing the workers that there is beauty in the movements of garbage trucks and heavy machinery proves no easy feat. In the words of crane operator Don Anderson, “How can I make a big ole hunk of machine be romantic?”
As Allison gamely tries to convince her performers that she isn’t crazy, and that there is a way to make garbage trucks dance, the real meaning of the piece becomes clear. Making people who are largely invisible, not only seen, but celebrated has an impact far beyond the performance itself. With warmth, humour and remarkable spirit, Trash Dance transcends the cliché of art transforming peoples’ lives. There is genuine and profound beauty and elegance in the work itself. The dance drew some 2,000 people and claimed top honors as the No. 1 arts event in Austin in 2009. The arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman called the performance “simply one of the most outstanding and most moving arts spectacles Austin has seen in recent memory.” A film to remind of the fundamental decency and dignity of working people, Trash Dance earns the oft-used phrase ‘crowd pleaser’ with heart and integrity.
“Inspired and inspiring…A paean to the nobility of labor.” – Paste Magazine
“Unbelievable, incredibly beautiful and moving” – Blackbook Magazine
“With national discussions swirling around the one-percent versus the 99-percent, Garrison’s thoughtful, eloquent documentary illuminates the reality that all work matters and has dignity, no matter the invisibility of the labor.” – Austin-American Statesman
“Amazing, inspiring and unexpectedly moving.” – The Texas Tribune
Winner of multiple awards including Special Jury Recognition at the 2012 SXSW Festival, Audience Awards at the Full Frame Festival, The Silverdocs Festival and Best Documentary Feature at the Woods Hole Film Festival, DOXA’s presentation of Trash Dance will be its first screening in Greater Vancouver.