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Note: As befitting the subject matter of this film, the DVD is packaged in an eco-friendly cardboard sleeve as opposed to a plastic case.

"Dive! Living Off America's Waste" is a fun and informative short form documentary that takes an intimate look at how much perfectly acceptable food gets discarded in America on a daily basis. While this is surely not a new topic, filmmaker Jeremy Seifert introduces the subject in a decidedly offbeat manner. Seifert and his cohorts make a practice of dumpster diving in grocery store refuse to supply food for their respective tables. While unsavory at times, it is quite remarkable what gets discarded when you think of how many people go hungry on a daily basis. Even with supermarkets (the film is set in Los Angeles) donating to food banks and shelters, there is so much still ending up as mere trash. Seifert puts a charismatic face on the phenomenon of dumpster diving, to be sure, and this part of the film is pure entertainment. Moments with his family are quite funny, I loved the big garbage meat barbecue, and one of the divers is a gourmet chef that prepares a restaurant quality dish from his found treasures!

Of course, the film has loftier goals. Through colorful graphics and animation--there are plenty of statistics provided about food waste. Seifert inundates you with information and it becomes mind boggling just how far down the wrong path we've gone as a nation of consumption. Unlike some films, however, Seifert also presents his case as a call to arms. Offering both personal advice on practical home solutions to reduce extra waste as well as tips about how to become more involved within the community--the film really attempts to cover a lot of material.

A thoroughly engaging film, and an easy recommendation, "Dive!" may be a little over-stuffed with ideas to communicate in its brief 53 minute format. Covering so many topics--dumpster diving, personal usage of food, corporate waste, social action, hunger and homelessness--there's a lot to sink your teeth into. As such, it doesn't delve too deeply into any particular topic, but serves as an introductory primer (or refresher) to a lot of eye-opening issues. Hopefully, it will inspire you to affect change in some way--and, as I said, it does offer some ideas that you might be able to incorporate into your daily life. "Dive!" may not be the most comprehensive film you can find about some of its themes, but it manages to combine its various threads and talking points into an entertaining format. Check it out, it's worth it. KGHarris, 7/11.
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on July 7, 2014
Well done documentary that raises a lot of questions - and admits that there are no easy answers. It's a little bit stomach-churning to watch a toddler eating food from a dumpster, but the film makes the point that there is ample food available - and if he's willing to feed his own child from the dumpster and is not too proud himself to glean and eat the "waste" of grocery stores, then the viewer is probably more willing to listen to what he has to say and consider the point he's making. The issue is bigger than this film, which they acknowledge, but it also is a conversation starter and that's a starting point.
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VINE VOICEon April 29, 2012
This past decade has seen a blossoming of thoughtful environmental documentaries on... us. We have Bag It,Super Size Me,No Impact Man,The Cove, and much more.

Dive! is about "dumpster-diving," or getting food from corporate dumpsters. The folk in this documentary love Trader Joe's, because TJ's tosses out good food, often high value fresh foods, at the first sign of a blemish or as the product approaches the expiration date stamped on the package. I heard on an NPR interview today (I watched the movie last night... what good timing) that Trader Joe's in the LA area has really improved its programs to get food that originally was tossed to food pantries and shelters. Good for them, and way to go Dive! for getting TJ's to change their corporate behavior.

Interesting. I expect this movie will generate thoughtful discussions when shown to groups of youths or adults. On the negative side, everyone can't support themselves by dumpster-diving (there can't be too much competition). But Dive! really pushes the idea that way too much edible food is going into landfills, not stomachs. That's a great message for those interested in sustainability.
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on April 5, 2013
Love this movie! I saw it first on netflix and then had to buy it on Amazon. At first you think it's going to be kind of gross , dumpster diving and all, but its absolutely NOT, when you see the kind of good food just thrown out rather than distributed to people who need it, it really makes you reconsider your own choices and values. You'll want to keep this documentary handy to watch again and share with friends and family. . No profanity or vulgarity.
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on January 7, 2012
I applaud the way the directors and editors of this film stayed true to form. There was no super preachy overtone and was it was very tactful.

I am a very heavy couponer, and it amazes me how often I have to literally argue at the registers, because I planned my shopping trip pay change out of my pocket. When its all said and done, they would rather toss it in the trash than have us pay a few cents for it. Its amazing.

I hope the Human condition changes before my children began shopping for their own households. Or I will gladly join them in a new adventure: Diving.

Blessings to the Crew!!
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on January 3, 2012
When this movie first popped up on my Netflix list I was intrigued but not 100% sure this is a movie I would want to watch. Boy am I glad I did. Wow! Great job.
There is a hunger crisis in America. This is one movie that explores ways to fix this very important problem. The details, drawings and examples are priceless. There was a visitor at my home the evening that I watched this incredible movie. I can tell you my guest's life will never be the same. He was truly impacted to the core. People may be initially grossed out by the first impression of dumpster diving. The abundance of food shown filling people's freezers from good food thrown away will shift your perceptions and beliefs. Great change is needed at this time on our planet and this is one movie that is part of this change.
Dive!: Living off America's Waste
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on February 11, 2012
Awesome movie. I use it with my students. It's really effective.
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on June 7, 2016
Interesting DVD.
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on July 21, 2011
Judge Dawn Hunt, DVD Verdict-- For a film that wants to impact change, Dive! straddles the boundaries between an informational and educational film more than I anticipated.

The first third of Dive! details the nightly routines of the dumpster divers making the film. Paired with disturbing facts about waste (96 billion pounds of food are wasted every year), these are the most impactful story elements. The next third is spent trying to track down grocery store executives to talk about food waste. As you might expect, this never happens. And finally Dive! wraps up by providing its audience with a call to action.

The full video presentation is an odd mix of Mini-DV, Super 8, and stop-motion animation (which is what worked best for me). Being able to see, not just hear, some of the key points was extremely effective. The Super 8 nature transitions were the least appealing. The standard 2.0 stereo track was nothing special--film's soundtrack being both enjoyable and effective--but a documentary such as this requires little else.

Only two special features of note: A series of interviews/profiles of the divers, and a theatrical trailer. During the interviews, one of the divers admits to peeing his pants while salvaging. Gee, I wonder why more people don't participate in dumpster diving? It's not knowing the food's been in dumpsters that sickens me, it's the people further contaminating what's being salvaged. Food is okay, people are gross.

Dive! is a frustrating film, one that seems to be operating under the assumption that its audience has a much firmer grasp on these concepts than I did. It may be worth seeing to understand how wasteful we as a society are, but I wanted the narrative to be something more than what it is.
-Full review at
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This multi-award winning (20 regional film festival awards) documentary film by Jeremy Seifert serves a few purposes. It chronicles Seifert's family and friends as the "dumpster dive" through supermarket bins (mostly upscale markets like Trader Joes and Whole Foods in the Los Angeles area) - usually at 2am - for edible food that has been discarded.
It also tries to educate the public on the fact that over 263 million pounds of food each day are discarded in America alone! And, of course we know, just from the evening news, that there homeless going hungry every night.

Seifert, who wrote directed, filmed, and even - as part of a group called The Jubilee Singers - helped write some of the songs on the soundtrack, literally hammers across the points that 1) we need to help food banks, 2) some major stores like Trader Joes are run by corporate execs who can't be reached and 3) you can feed your family of three for zero cost if you are willing to chance it with discarded food. Like the documentaries by Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock ("Super size me") there is real info here but the full story is not given. The film's short 54-munute length limits some of what can be said, but nowhere in the film did I see Seifert actually test the food for safety. (I take that back, he does check eggs by putting in water and seeing if they sink or not.). The one night he actually discusses the temperature in Los Angeles (where it us usually hot), he mentions that it is an unusually cool 40 degrees that night. So, assuming that Trader Joes (where he usually "dives") discarded the chickens and steaks he "rescues" at 10pm, they have been un-refrigerated for over four hours. He doesn't test any of the meats for bacteria. Of course, we are made to assume that he and his family are never ill from this food. So, I buy some of his discussion but with a cynical eye.

The graphics are clever and he goes the Michael Moore route of trying to contact the corporate folks at Trader Joes. Of course he starts off by sending a letter - same one - each day for about two months. Of course they ignore him. But he learns that individual TJs store managers have authority to give away the food. So, my guess is that TJs in SoCal are having their dumpsters invaded more frequently by folks who have seen this film at festivals.

Don't get me wrong. I did find the film entertaining and agree that we have a world hunger issue here. But I don't remember seeing Seifert taking the extra food he carts home to share with others (except for a New Year's Eve project where he carts stuff to a food bank.). So if it raises the issue of discarded food that is good. And, again, I will recommend it to those who - like me - seek out Moore and Spurlock docs.

The bonuses section includes about 10 2 minute profiles of Seifert's friends featured in the film - including a "chef" who makes gourmet meals from the dumpster finds.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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