With searchlights piercing the sky, the Gig Harbor Film Festival opened last night with a reception at the Galaxy Theatres in Uptown Gig Harbor.
David DePatie, the man behind the animated “The Pink Panther” series, was given a lifetime achievement award.
The opening night film, “Dive” – a documentary about dumpster diving for food interspersed with startling facts about food waste in the U.S. – was a great effort from a first time filmmaker with a $200 budget.
That is not a typo: Two hundred dollars.
L.A. based Jeremy Seifert just completed his film, born in a documentary filmmaking class, a few months ago.
Seifert and his posse forage through the dumpsters of Southern California grocery stores for edible food. The amount of food, some of it tossed before its expiration date, is staggering.
The film takes on a “Roger and Me” quality when Seifert tries to get an interview with the CEO of Trader Joe’s. He fails.
Seifert throws in a lot of statistics without telling us where they come from. He also uses pounds as a unit of measurement when referring to food – not very telling considering it could be steak or cabbage he’s talking about. And the camera spends too much time on his family members, giving it a home movie quality.
Despite those flaws, it’s an eye-opening expose on the excesses and waste of the American food industry.
The process of finding free food seems to transform Seifert. He muses, “this garbage was feeding my family and friends. And doing it in style.”
He and his friends deliver salvaged food to local food banks and shelters, something grocers are doing already – just not enough. (Albertson’s is a leader in food waste reduction, we learn.)
T.J’s takes a lot of heat in the movie but Seifert doesn’t impart any evil intents on them or other grocers. As he says near the end, “Most of the time, wasting food is just easier.”
Earlier in the evening, when DePatie was presented his award by Peninsula Gateway Publisher George Le Masurier, he wondered if the award should be given a nickname: The Giggy or The Gigger.
Despite his Oscars, Emmys and other awards, this one was special, DePatie said, because, “It comes from the people of my community, where I live.”
DePatie won an Oscar in 1964 for his work on Blake Edwards’ “The Pink Panther.”
DePatie said he and his team came up with over 100 variations of the pink feline before Edwards selected the now famous version.
With its success, United Artists contracted with DePatie and partner Friz Freleng to make 150 “Pink Panther” cartoons.
“I’ve really been blessed in my career,” Depattie said and then ended his speech with, “Think Pink!”
The GHFF continues today through Sunday.
What: Gig Harbor Film Festival
Where: Galaxy Theatres in Uptown Gig Harbor, 4649 Point Fosdick Dr. NW
Full schedule, info and tickets: www.gigharborfilmfestival.org, 253-851-3456