Mala is a film about my time getting to know a trash collector by the same name. I would see her in my campus neighborhood and wondered what she was up to. I spent three weeks going on dumpster diving trips between the hours of 1 and 5 AM. This film is about the barriers that were broken between us and those that remained inexorable. Mala would show me sides of my college neighborhood (south central LA) that at once disturbed and familiarized me with the streets I had been living in for the last 4 years. Soon after the shooting of the film, Mala disappeared from her route, her sleeping place and the parks and benches we would frequent - she had vanished. Her phone was found in the middle of a crosswalk 10 blocks north of her stomping grounds - or so the man who picked up when I called told me. Whenever driving past the movie theatre featured in this film I glance over to look for a sign - her cart, her blankets, her pile clothes - but never see anything.

Directed, shot and edited from January-May 2012.

Completed in conjunction with the requirements for my B.A. in Visual Anthropology from USC.

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