Art Shrian Tiwari, photo credit Lapacazo Sandoval
Now in its 12th year, The Manhattan Film Festival unspools from April 18-29, 2018 with most films being shown at the Cinema Village theater (22 East 12th St.) Among its many films, “Kachrewala: Five Cents Each,” explores New York City’s bottle collectors, giving a glimpse into what it really means to return bottles and cans and glass containers for money as necessary income. Written produced and starring Indian immigrant Art Shrian Tiwari, and directed by Daniel Guillaro, it looks into a world that takes place in plain sight of many unaware New Yorkers, and captures the experience in this, his first short film which ushers in a change in the writers/actors' life.
There’s another perspective a person gains when one "literally" gets their hands dirty, perceived by many as unappealing, performing an act that many would never do, preferring instead to beg. As one character, an older white woman in her late 70s, says in the film, "begging is a lot harder than picking bottles, I tell you that!"
To prepare for the role and become part of the fabric of this community, Tiwari did just that. He rolled up his sleeves, and picked up discarded cans and bottles, turning them in for the five cents each one is worth at the many drop off locations around the city. It's messy hard work and a far cry from the software engineering and program management work Tiwari performed when he arrived from India several years ago.
For a long time, Tiwari’s extensive experience in e-commerce and financial services as well as an expertise in web and mobile domains led him to work for such well-established organizations as the Weight Watchers, Scholastic, Sprint, Starwood Hotels and New York Stock Exchange in New York City. Now in his 30s, he decided to make a change. He left the financial security of the IT field and stepped out to pursue writing and acting full time . This he did along with becoming a husband and father.
Says Tiwari, “I’m proud of being an immigrant in America, an Indian-American. I grew up in a middle-class family, with a happy upbringing surrounded by family, love, and support. My father was in Air Force, with a transferable job, thus we moved a lot. That opened me up to experiencing new cultures, people and be more open-minded in general”.
Writers write about what they know, or where they live, but Tiwari took a look inside a part of this city that most New Yorkers never care to know about. “Kachrewala: Five Cents Each,” tells of a single day in the life of a bottle collector, and his challenges of navigating the streets of New York. The April 24th screening of this short takes place at Cinema Village East Theater at 5 pm. It stars Tiwari, Nitin Mandan, Ilissa Jackson, Dequan Deveraux, and Mary Lu Garmone.
As Tiwari explained about wrestling his idea into a script, he learned quite a bit about bottle people. “We see these people around us in this great city every day. But we don't know anything about them. We just assume them to be homeless, scavengers or beggars of the sort. But in reality, they truly work hard for a meager amount of money. Of course, that little money can mean a lot, when you are in need."
To learn more about the festival go to http://manhattanff.com
The Manhattan Film Festival
April 18 - 29, 2018
22 E. 12th St.
New York, NY 10003