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From the Vaults: Talking 'Trash'

Andrew Garrison discusses filming Allison Orr's 'Trash Project'
Marjorie Baumgarten, 3:30pm, Fri. May. 3, 2013
In the documentary Trash Dance, which opens today at the Violet Crown Cinema, filmmaker Andrew Garrison offers a record of the making of choreographer Allison Orr's one-night-only, site-specific production of The Trash Project – a dance piece performed in 2009 by the workers and machinery of Austin's Solid Waste Services Department.

Trash Dance premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2012, where it received a Special Jury recognition before going on to receive the Audience Awards at the Full Frame and Silver Docs Film Festivals.

The Chronicle's Arts Editor Robert Faires talked with Garrison prior to SXSW in an interview published as "Art as Acts of Subversion and Immersion." Curiously, Garrison – a co-founder of the Dayton Community Media Workshop in Ohio, veteran of the famed Appalshop film collective based in Kentucky, and presently an associate professor of filmmaking in UT's Radio-TV-Film Department – didn't know Orr or her work with her Forklift Danceworks company prior to the start of filming. But something about Orr's mission spoke to Garrison's history of filming working people and community involvement.

Not only did Orr create a thing of beauty with The Trash Project, but also a sense of community. In the Faires' interview, Garrison says that Orr wanted "to make a dance that offered a more fully human picture of the people who work as 'trash men,' and I wanted the audience and the performing employees to feel more connected to each other once the performance was over." That feeling comes across and is, no doubt, the reason the film has been recognized with so many audience awards. Trash Dance transports viewers to a lively and positive mind frame about their own trash and the formerly invisible workers who make it disappear on a weekly basis.

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