Underground Film Journal

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Short Film: The Scrapper

The above embedded short film is Jonathan Olshefski‘s The Scrapper, a verite night-in-the-life documentary about a scrap collector named Joey who works in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. It’s a sweet little piece that rolls as gracefully as Joey does on his rollerblades while collecting recyclable scrap. The movie recently screened at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

Here where I live in Los Angeles, there are odd rules about apartment buildings and recycling. I’ve never had a recycling bin at my building. What I do instead is gather up my plastic and cans and put it out for my neighborhood “scrapper” one night a week. He always comes on the same day. Sometimes I forget to do this and I have to run out and hand my collection to him with a friendly “Here you go,” but that’s as much of a conversation I’ve had with the guy. So, beyond just enjoying Oshefski’s film, I really admire the process behind it of asking this guy if he wanted to be filmed.

However, while Joey isn’t the gregarious type, he at least seems a little chatty and playful, so maybe it wasn’t so difficult to approach him.


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