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Crosscurrents

The astonishing resilience of West Oakland's recycling homeless

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An image from from the documentary "Dogtown Redemption."

Filmmaker Amir Soltani and his team spent seven years following the lives of three people who make a living recycling bottles and cans in West Oakland. The film,"Dogtown Redemption", brings up questions about how gentrification affects some of Oakland’s poorest residents.

The movie first screened on PBS’ Independent Lens in 2016, and that was when Amir sat down with KALW’s Jen Chien to talk about it.

Alliance Metals, the recycling center in that piece has since closed, but in honor of National Recovery Month, the East Bay organization “Options Recovery Services” is sponsoring a screening of the documentary.

The film is screening this Sunday, September 30, at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland.

Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.