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— [?] as some scientist, Face/Off

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The East

The East emerges as an exciting piece of filmmaking from the independent scene’s hott —Matt Anderson (review...)

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Dive!is the well-deserved winner of BIFF’s first “Best Call 2 Action” award.

The title implies the movie will be about dumpster-diving, but it isn’t really. It’s less about the great stuff you might find in American trash cans and more about how much unspoiled food America throws away.

Siefert scores some 'shrooms
Siefert scores some ‘shrooms

Why do we do it? Are we afraid of lawsuits? Dive! points out that can’t happen anymore thanks to recent legislation. Do we pass over less-than-perfect produce and choose the milk with the latest expiration date? Probably, but that hardly justifies putting it in a landfill. There are hungry people in every community that would be happy to have a cup of yogurt that “expired” today, or meat that is brown instead of red, or an apple with a slight bruise.

Yet night after night, week after week, the filmmakers keep finding bounties and banquets behind grocery stores. By the end of their project they’ve filled several freezers (including one donated to the cause) to capacity without spending a dime, and there’s still more food to be found.

The message is shocking and inspiring, which is why it deserved the activist documentary prize at BIFF. But Dive!doesn’t work great as film. The footage is home-made, often shot in the dark without a tripod. The images and editing are rough around the edges. Some of what I considered key points — the legal fears of grocery chains, the food production system itself, how to deal with fickle consumer demands — get glossed over and pushed to the side. The work of a good story editor and a more experienced photographer would have helped the movie.

But sometimes the point of a festival film is the subject itself, and in that regard, Dive!makes a splash.