Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 15, 2013.

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A heartfelt & moving story of how instruments made from recycled trash bring hope to children whose future is otherwise spiritless.

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Landfill Harmonic reveals a mind-boggling, inventive effort to change that - musical instruments made from trash. In the barrios of Paraguay, a humble garbage picker uses his ingenuity to craft instruments out of recycled materials - and a youth orchestra is born. Music arises and children find new dreams.

Maria, Noelia and Tania
Maria, Noelia and Tania

About Landfill Harmonic

A film about “The Recycled Orchestra”, a group of children from a Paraguayan slum who play instruments made entirely of garbage. It is a beautiful story about the transformative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution.   

The world generates about a billion tons of garbage a year.  Those who live with it and from it are the poor – like the people of Cateura, Paraguay.  And here they are transforming it into beauty.  Landfill Harmonic follows the orchestra as it takes its inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the world. 

Production began in 2010 when we traveled to Paraguay to film the children and the orchestra. We returned to the village in 2011 to film and check on the progress of three young children who recently entered the orchestra. We then resumed filming in 2012. We will also continue to follow the story in 2013. Landfill Harmonic shows how trash and recycled materials can be transformed into beautiful sounding musical instruments, but more importantly, it brings witness to the transformation of precious human beings.

Landfill Harmonic is not just a film...

The Landfill Harmonic Movement will consist of 3 phases, particularly with the funding (CLICK HERE for full goals):

1. Film Completion to showcase the power of the movement

2. The creation of the Landfill Harmonic Social Movement and infrastructure to accomplish the goals below and start other chapters throughout the world in areas just like Cateura.

3. The Recycled Orchestra world tour. This will bring attention to the Landfill Harmonic Movement and inspire other organizations and individuals to join in support.

Share The Inspiration & Help Us Reach The Stretch Goals Above...

If everyone takes a moment to press SHARE below, we have the opportunity to reach MILLIONS of people on Facebook... Imagine what could be accomplished if all 123,000+ Facebook fans pledged at least $1 & shared...

It's easy to SHARE: Simply click the button below, scroll down to the bottom and press the “SHARE” button with a note to your friends. 

Who Is In The Film

Favio Chávez: Director of the “Los Reciclados” orchestra

Director of  "La Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura". Favio grew up in Carapegua, Paraguay, a small village two hours away from Asuncion (the capital). Favio has worked since he was 9 years old, his early work experiences helped him to be the creative man he is today. 

Favio learned to play the guitar at an early age and at 11 years of age he became the choir director at his church. Favio studied environmental technology, and in 2006 he started working on a recycle program at Cateura, where the main landfill of the country is located. Observing the needs of the kids in that area, he decided to open a music school, that was the beginning of his Recycled Orchestra project.

Nicolás Gómez known as “Cola” Luthier and garbage picker 

Nicolas, grew up in Emboscada, 50 Kilometers away from Asuncion. His father died when he was 7 years old and that's when he had to start working to help his mom who was left with 9 children. 

After doing 30 years of hard labor work in construction, he decided to move to Cateura where he was lucky enough as he said, to start working as a trash collector & recycler. This gave him a daily steady income, he says "there would always be garbage and that means I will always have a job". It is in Cateura where he meets Favio. Together they start the construction of the recycled instruments. 

The Kids known as "The Recycled Orchestra"

Most of the kids in the orchestra are from Cateura or close by areas. Cateura is a village essentially built on top of a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods, where children are often at risk of getting involved with drugs and gangs. The orchestra has offered these kids and teenagers a new alternative to the life their parents had.  The film follows the story of several kids and their families. 

Ada (left) & Tania (right)
Ada (left) & Tania (right)
Noelia (left) & Esteban (right)
Noelia (left) & Esteban (right)
Maria (left) & Christian (right)
Maria (left) & Christian (right)

The Recycled Orchestra

A few years ago, one of the garbage pickers, Cola, an untutored genius of the slum, got together with local musician Favio Chavez to make instruments for the children of the slum.  There was no money for real instruments so together they started to make instruments from trash - violins and cellos from oil drums, flutes from water pipes and spoons, guitars from packing crates.

With children like Ada and Tania and with the support of many in the slum, Favio slowly put together one of the world’s most unlikely orchestras.  It is entirely made of garbage.  They call it “The Recycled Orchestra”.  

The Instruments

Tin water pipe, metal bottle caps, plastic buttons, metal spoon and fork handles.  Tito Romero, maker
Tin water pipe, metal bottle caps, plastic buttons, metal spoon and fork handles. Tito Romero, maker
Metal Glue cannister, fork, used strings, recycled wood and tunning pegs.   Nicolas "Cola" Gomez, maker
Metal Glue cannister, fork, used strings, recycled wood and tunning pegs. Nicolas "Cola" Gomez, maker

Cateura, Paraguay

The children of Cateura, live in one of the poorest slums in Latin America.  Just outside Asuncion, Paraguay, Cateura is the city’s trash dump.  It is built on a landfill. Here, people live in a sea of garbage. 

And they live from garbage. Every day, tons of rotting detritus spill from trucks and people swarm over it to pick the pieces of trash that are their livelihood.  The people of Cateura may be the poorest of the poor but they are proud and the life of their slum is vibrant. Family bonds, rivalries and friendships are intense.    Surrounded by stories of drug-violence, alcoholism and destitution, they make herculean efforts to reaffirm their life and dignity. 

How It All Started

Alejandra Amarilla Nash (Founder & Executive Producer) contacted Juliana Penaranda-Loftus (Producer) to work on a documentary about the underserved children of Paraguay.  Together, they started an extensive research process in 2009, during which they traveled to Paraguay to interview different leads among them:  the Minister of Education of Paraguay, community leaders, school principals, and children from low-income families.  

Through their research, Alejandra and Juliana discovered the Recycled Orchestra. In 2010, they returned to Paraguay to do some initial filming. Since then production has developed strong connections with the orchestra and the community and continue to follow the story to the present. 

Tania (violinist) & Alejandra Nash (Founder & Executive Producer)
Tania (violinist) & Alejandra Nash (Founder & Executive Producer)

Goals & Plans For Landfill Harmonic The Movie

Please CLICK HERE for a full breakdown, including the charitable movement.

Mission for Landfill Harmonic The Movie 

To demonstrate and inspire those all over the world that creative and simple solutions can bring powerful social transformation to the poorest communities.

The world's largest Musical Instruments Museum, MIM in Scottsdale, AZ., will set up a permanent exhibition with a collection of recycled musical instruments after the Landfill Harmonic team contacted them about the Recycled Orchestra. These instruments, along with parts of the documentary, will be permanently housed in the Latin American wing of the museum.

There are plans to bring the Orchestra for the opening of this exhibition in 2013. This juncture will give the producers the opportunity to partner with like-minded organizations to support a concert tour and make a few more presentations in Los Angeles, New York and other cities in the U.S.

Goals for Landfill Harmonic The Movie

  • Inspire general audiences to recycle objects, restore their livelihoods and provide hope for younger generations.
  • Educate audience through social media reach about ways to recycle.
  • Partner up with environmental organizations to educate our audiences on sustainability topics.
  • Encourage other organizations to give opportunities to underprivileged youth to provide alternatives to drugs and alcohol so they can learn news skills.
  • Motivate youth to be creative and resourceful as well as re-evaluate their lives by helping them recognize what they have to succeed.
  • Bring attention to the sanitary conditions in Cateura. Hundreds of families such as the ones that appear in the film live along a polluted creek. This is a sanitary emergency that needs to be recognized by the citizens and the government.

Stretch Goals & Plans

Filming on location is expensive, very expensive... Our Kickstarter Goal is $175,000 which will allow us to complete the two main production trips. With that, we have created numerous Stretch Goals, that with your support the Landfill Harmonic Movement can be so much more. 

The dollar amounts below outline what we can do with amounts over our $175,000 goal:

$175,000 - $250,000 

With this additional $75,000 we will be able to set up an international appearance for use in the film and have an extra week to film in Paraguay with the equipment and the crew we need. 

$250,000 - $500,000 

It will complete post-production of Landfill Harmonic. This stage includes expenses such as: picture editing, original music composition, recording of the score, music licensing, sound editing, sound mixing, color correction and final online of the movie among other post-production expenses to complete a high end finished product. 

$500,000 - $1,000,000+ 

It will bring the Recycled Orchestra on a World Wide Tour to share the inspiration. The larger the amount raised, the more cities/ countries they can visit!

Help us reach our stretch goals to bring the Recycled Orchestra on a worldwide tour by helping spread the message... 

Share the Facebook Photo linked below from our Facebook Fan Page. Simply click the button below, scroll down to the bottom and press the “SHARE” button with a note to friends.

Where We Are In Our Progress

Initial production for the documentary began in 2010 when the production team traveled to Paraguay. They spent days with Favio and Cola, the garbage picker, who guided the team through the process of creating violins, flutes and drums out of recycled metal drums, tin cans, and plastic pipes. They returned to the village in 2011 with an entire crew to film the progress of the young children who recently entered the orchestra, and then traveled back in 2012.

The production team is scheduled to travel three more times under the creative leadership of our Emmy nominated Director, Graham Townsley PhD, and then complete post-production of the documentary by the end of 2013. 

Instrument Drive

We have set up an instruments bank in Phoenix, AZ. We would gladly receive your instrument here and given the opportunity, send it to the Orchestra. Also, we would like to let you know that since this project has touched so many people in different parts of the world, the orchestra is looking forward to institute similar programs in other communities around the globe. Therefore, your instruments could end up in the hands of a child in Haiti, or Kenya. If your feel okay with this, please feel free to send the instrument to the following address: The Landfill Harmonic Project | Eureka Productions inc. | 503 W. Julie Dr. | Tempe, AZ 85283

Media Request

Please direct all press inquires for interviews or features to Christopher M. Olenik at: http://agency20.com/contact-us/

To view and download our press kit, CLICK HERE

Landfill Harmonic has a fiscal sponsor, Creative Visions Foundation, a publicly supported 501 (c)(3), which supports Creative activists who use the power of media and the arts to affect positive change in the world.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Currently, we are facing the risk of missing filming crucial scenes for the story if all the production funds are not in place for the upcoming next 4 months needed to complete production. The story has been developing at a faster pace especially over the past few months and we need to keep following the story and the main characters as the events unfold.

There will always be challenges even after securing the funding but having the budget in place will allow us to focus on maximizing our efforts in other areas. If we get the funds in place to complete production, we will be able to finish the film on schedule by the end of this year. Once we complete the film, we will be able to concentrate on film release, outreach, Landfill Harmonic movement and the orchestra tour for next year.

FAQ

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