The 12th Manhattan Film Festival runs from April 18-29, bringing some wonderful feature, shorts and documentaries from NYC and around the world . One of the buzzed-about short films takes a look into the subculture of New York City bottle pickers, giving a rare glimpse into what it really means to pick up discarded bottles, and cans using the money as necessary income.
"KACHREWALA: Five Cents Each", Written, starring and produced by Indian immigrant Art Shrian Tiwari, takes a moment to step back and look at a “secretive” world that's taking place in plain sight, in the city, and being able to capture and present this as his first short film actually ushered in a sweeping change in the writers/actors' life.
There is another perspective that a person gains when they are "literally" getting their hands dirty and being viewed, by so many New Yorkers' as undesirable people in the city, performing an act that many, dare I suggest, would never do out of sheer pride, opting to beg. As one character, an older white woman in her late 70 says in the short film, "begging is a lot harder than picking bottles, I tell you that!"
To get ready for the role, and to become a part of the fabric of this subculture Tiwari, did just that. He rolled up his sleeves, and picked up discarded cans and bottles, turning them in for 5 cents each in the drop off locations around the city. It's hard work and it's messy. A far, far cry from the job that Tiwari, performed when he arrived, from India, years ago.
For a long time, in New York, Tiwari, worked as in software engineering and program management, with extensive experience in e-commerce and financial services as well as an expertise in web and mobile domains. In those roles, he’s worked for such well-established organizations as the Weight Watchers, Scholastic, Sprint, Starwood Hotels and New York Stock Exchange.
Now in his early 30s he decided to make a change. He left the financial security of working in the i.t. field and stepped out, in faith, to pursue his writing and acting life, full time. This along with being a husband, and new father.
Says Tiwari “I am proud of being an immigrant in America, an Indian-American. I grew up in a middle-class family, with a happy upbringing surrounded by family, love, and support. My father was in Air Force, with a transferable job, thus we moved a lot. That opened me up to experiencing new cultures, people and be more open-minded in general”.
Writers write about what the know, or what they live. For this, again, Tiwari took a look inside another part of a glamours city, that most New Yorkers never glimpse, or care to know about.
The core of “Kachrewala: Five Cents Each,” is about a single day in the life of a bottle collector, and his challenges of navigating the streets of New York. As Tiwari explained about wrestling his idea into a script, he learned quite a bit about bottle people. “We see these people around us in this great city every day. But we don't know anything about them. We just assume them to be homeless, scavengers or beggars of the sort. But in reality, they truly work hard for a meager amount of money. Of course, that little money can mean a lot, when you are in need."
The April 24th screening of the short film “Kachrewala: Five Cents Each,” will take place at Cinema Village East Theater at 5 pm. It stars Tiwari, Nitin Mandan, Ilissa Jackson, Dequan Deveraux, and Mary Lu Garmone, it was directed by Daniel Guillaro, written by Tiwari.
You can follow the film on Facebook & Twitter at @KachrewalaFilm. To learn more and get your tickets for the screening, check out the link below.
About Manhattan Film Festival
Manhattan Film Festival was founded by independent filmmakers that learned first-hand how hard it is to find an independent film an audience. Originally launched as the start-up Independent Features, MFF evolved into a globally recognized brand. The festival is covered by local, national, and international media outlets. This includes The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Good Morning America, The New York Times, as well as international outlets such as The Sun, BBC, and The Guardian. The festival has been named both “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” and “The Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine. Although we have grown into one of the largest independent film festivals on the circuit, we have stayed true to our principals. We have thrived by building our festival through the voices of filmmakers rather than corporate sponsors. That is one of the keys of our success and a main reason MFF was founded.