Redemption: follows the story of three recyclers—Jason, Roslin, and Landon—as they collect and redeem bottles and cans in West Oakland. Jason is the street smart former gang banger who is trying to make an honest living. Roslin is the loner with mental health issues, who carries the grief of her husband’s death on her slender shoulders while trying to survive as a woman in this dangerous world. Landon, “The Preacher,” is the recycler with a conscience who has fallen from grace and, through his deep religious faith, tries to find a way out of this moral wilderness while battling his temptations and addictions. Together,they not only initiate us into the art, science, economics and politics of recycling, but also provide a glimpse into the crises and tragedies, opportunities and dreams that have defined the arc of their lives, and which explain their decision to work as self-employed recyclers on the margins of the city.
In addition to interviews with the recyclers, we also explore the lives of their neighbors, new and old West Oakland residents living next to Alliance Metals. Their street Magnolia Row is one of the main transportation arteries leading to the recycling center, and consequently, one where the recyclers shopping carts and scavenging is viewed as a constant nuisance. Complaints range from recyclers stealing garbage and garbage cans, breaking and entering into homes for trash, polluting, smoking crack, defecating and otherwise disrespecting the neighborhood.
For both historical and political perspective on recycling and West Oakland, we have interviewed Mayor Ron Dellums, City Council woman Nancy Nadel, the owner of Alliance Metals Jay Anast, as well as countless city officials, religious leaders, civic groups and neighborhood associations.
We have been following these stories for the past two years. Redemption is a production of Turning Time, with Amir Soltani, under the umbrella of the Tides Foundation. We are currently fundraising to complete shooting this year and move into post-production. For more information or to support this project, please contact us at chihiro_wimbush[at]yahoo.com.