Synopsis by Mark Deming
If you live in a city of reasonable size, you've almost certainly seen them -- the shabby men and women who spend their days collecting cans and bottles they've rescued from trash barrels, alleys, sidewalks, or anywhere people gather, making pocket money by turning them in for the refund deposits, usually five or ten cents per container. In New York City, these people are known as "canners," and while they're a common sight, in a real sense they're also invisible, a segment of the economic underclass most folks prefer not to acknowledge. Filmmakers Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill introduce us to a handful of New York City "canners" and looks into the lives of people struggling to get by through other people's discards in the documentary Redemption. Redemption received a 2013 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject.