The three documentarians got some good nighttime footage of food being plucked out of trash bags on Manhattan sidewalks, but when they filmed the ensuing potluck dinner in Brooklyn — cooked up by the scavengers from the “rescued” ingredients — they had a decision to make:
Were they going to eat any of it themselves?
They didn’t have to, in their role as journalist observers, but an experience like this was hard to pass up, and the scavengers — who call themselves “freegans” — were a friendly, articulate bunch who seemed to know what they were doing.
Part of what they did was retrieve edible, unexpired food, packaged and unpackaged, during a two-hour “trash tour” along Sixth Avenue. They offered a running commentary of what they kept and what they didn’t, and the filmmakers — three senior journalism students from St. Michael’s College — were there to record it all.
“Best if Used by Freegans,” a one-hour film by Kelly Brooks, Emily Rose and Carolyn Smith, had a premiere of sorts Thursday night at the Alliot Student Center during the annual expo of senior seminar projects in journalism and mass communication. Theirs was one of 19 completed works — books, Web documentaries, documentary films — with topics that ranged from hip-hop and hoarding to prayer and addiction.