Nashville Garbage Dreams Event a Homecoming After 2009 NaFF Success

Posted on January 27, 2010

Community Cinema hosted a screening of the Independent Lens film Garbage Dreams this past weekend at the Nashville Public Library. The film follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world's largest garbage village, a ghetto located on the outskirts of Cairo. Regional Outreach Coordinator Allison Inman gives an overview of the event.

Saturday, Community Cinema welcomed more than 125 people into Nashville Public Library’s downtown branch auditorium for a screening of Garbage Dreams. The event was a homecoming of sorts; Mai Iskander and her film were the talk of last year’s Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) when Al Gore presented Mai with the REEL Current Award for extraordinary insight into global issues. Because of Garbage Dreams, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $1 million to benefit the Zaballeen, the “garbage people” profiled in the film. When announcing the grant, Garbage Dreams’ producers credited Nashville Film Festival and the REEL Current Award with part of the film’s success. As NaFF Director Sallie Mayne said, “We feel like a small but important part of its journey.”

Guests at the Community Cinema event attended a reception in the library’s art gallery, where they were invited to make crafts from recycled materials. We collected bottle caps from friends and the owner of The Basement, a popular live music venue. Guests made colorful refrigerator magnets from the previous night’s bottle caps, proving that trash can be beautiful. We also found a use for our leftover Community Cinema postcards; with some scissors and magnetic sheets, letters from the cards made interesting, imperfect magnetic poetry kits. 

Our panel featured Sherif Barsoum, director of International Student and Scholar Services at Vanderbilt University; Jeffrey Ezell, education coordinator at Metro Beautification and Environment Commission; and Jennifer Hackett, recycling coordinator for Sustain VU, Vanderbilt University’s recycling program. Each year, Sherif takes a student group to his native home, Cairo, where they visit the garbage village featured in the film. Sherif’s in-laws were with us at the screening, after arriving from Cairo late the night before. Moderator Jonathan Martin, co-anchor of WSMV’s Channel 4 News Today/Saturday, kept the discussion calm when a local environmental group leader unexpectedly took a seat on the panel, insisting he’d been invited, and used the opportunity to criticize our local and state government’s solid waste program. Community Cinema is presented by Nashville Public Television, Nashville Public Library, Hands On Nashville, and new series partner Nashville Film Festival

- Allison Inman Regional Outreach Coordinator


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