Carnegie Mellon University
December 09, 2020

Short Film Contrasts Black and White Racial Perspectives

“Garbage,” a short film by a Pittsburgh filmmaker and scriptwriter, illustrates how racially conditioned thinking can lead to essential misunderstandings of other people’s motivations

Stacy Kish

The Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival will showcase “Garbage” as its second film for the month of December. Dealing with the theme of racial injustice in the U.S., the short film, made in Pittsburgh, discusses the misconceptions our society has about race and how they can lead to conflict and misunderstanding.

While living in the same country, Black and white Americans exist in two separate worlds, represented by the characters in the film — a young Black male and a white woman. The narrative follows an exchange between the two that grows increasingly tense as they come to realize that white Americans do not understand how deeply they have been racially indoctrinated about what Blacks Americans’ lives are like. In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, “Garbage” pushes further the discussion surrounding racial injustice and the challenges Black Americans face every day.

“Garbage” is directed by Jose Muniain, a Pittsburgh resident who works in media production. His work documents the creative process of film and how the art can be used as a social tool. Muniain’s work spans many styles, including art installations, long-form documentary, short films and virtual reality. Many of his films have been recognized at international film festivals. He is currently a director and producer at Make-Media and a professor in the Film Program at La Roche University.

The screenplay was written by Brian Broome, a K. Leroy Irvis fellow and instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Broome has won the grand prize in the CMU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Awards and was the winner of the 2019 “Best of the Net” in nonfiction from Sundress Publications. Broome has also won a VANN Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation for journalism in 2019. His first book “Punch Me Up to the Gods,” was just published. The film was produced with a grant from the Great Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC).

Viewings for “Garbage” will open Dec. 14 with registration starting on Dec. 9. The first 100 people to register with the promo code CMUIFF will be able to watch for free. Tickets afterwards will be $0.99. There will be a live discussion on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. with Jose Muniain and Brian Broome. The discussion is free but requires registration, information for which can be found on the CMU IFF website.

Register for a viewing

In addition, an introduction video is available.

This event is presented in conjunction with Row House Cinema and sponsored by CMU's Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy, Humanities Scholars Program and Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion; University of Pittsburgh's Department of Africana Studies and Doc Salon.

For additional information and imagery for the CMU IFF, visit


The Carnegie Mellon International “Faces” Film Festival was created in 2006 and is a project of the Humanities Center at CMU. The festival prides itself on being the only international film festival organized and run by university students from across Pittsburgh. Films showcased focus on current and global social issues that create meaningful dialogue throughout the broader Pittsburgh community.