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  • Focus Forward Behind the Scenes: The Landfill 02/25/12

    Recently, Focus Forward caught up with filmmaker Jessica Edwards by phone and she filled us in a little bit about the genesis of the film that she made with Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Urbanized). "Gary had just finished Urbanized," says Edwards, "and [Cinelan] approached him about doing something [for Focus Forward]. He said 'Well, we've been working on this other project. Maybe you want to take a look at it.'" That project was The Landfill, which world premiered last month at Sundance.

    Besides the obvious—the landfill's forward-thinking use of recycling and methane production, for example—why this particular waste management facility? "The landfill in the film is our dump," said Edwards. We have a house in the Catskills and it's in the town the dump is in. I was always really interested in what they were doing and so we started talking to some of our neighbors who worked there and I was shocked at how innovative all of their elements were."

    While the film was always intended to be a short, Edwards says that the pair might expand it into a slightly longer piece. "It was always going to be 10-12 minutes, just looking at each of the programs that the landfill offers," says Edwards. "We shot for 4 days and the biggest challenge was to carve it all into 3 minutes." The pair kept asking for more time, but rules are rules! "Seconds matter at that point. There was a lot of stuff on the cutting room floor which was sad."

    It's an intriguing and important subject, so we here at Focus Forward hope they do make the longer version!