The Landfillharmonic

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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. Follow the lives of a garbage picker, a music teacher and a group of children from a Paraguayan slum that out of necessity started creating instruments entirely out of garbage. Landfill Harmonic is a beautiful story about the transformative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution.

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The Crew Bios

Alejandra Amarilla (Founder & Executive Producer) Integrating philanthropy and a commitment to community service into her daily life and vision, Alejandra has aided a variety of social causes, previously putting her efforts behind Free Arts of Arizona through the documentary film Unleashing Creativity, which she co-directed. Born in Asuncion, Paraguay, her idea of making a documentary about her native country became the first step for her in creating awareness regarding children’s causes in Paraguay. Landfill Harmonic, her latest endeavor, hits close to home and has become her love project.

Rodolfo Madero (Executive Producer) Rodolfo started Eureka Productions in 1993 in México. His work crossed frontiers by the end of the 90‘s when he established his production house in Phoenix, AZ. In 2004, Eureka made its debut in Adweek Magazine, being recognized as one of the 30 most important production houses in the US. He is a producer and film composer. Rodolfo is currently producing a documentary film about Diabetes and the link between emotional conflicts and the disease.

Belle Murphy. (Executive Producer) Belle is an attorney who has dedicated her career to advocating for children and giving a voice to those unable to speak for themselves. She attended the University of Washington where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Belle then went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University. Prior to her involvement in Landfill Harmonic she spent seven years with the Maricopa County Attorney’s office as a prosecutor who specialized in domestic violence, child abuse and child homicide cases. Although Belle is no longer a prosecutor she continues her focus on child advocacy and improving the lives of children by contributing to projects such as Landfill Harmonic.

Juliana Penaranda-Loftus (Producer/ Co-Director) Juliana Penaranda-Loftus  began her career working in production for numerous primetime television shows in Colombia. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, she moved to the United States. She then completed her Masters in film and video at American University in Washington, DC. After September 11, she directed and produced a documentary about Aid Afghanistan, an organization fighting for the right to educate women. She has also produced three feature films and established her own production company, Hidden Village Films with the purpose of producing film of social relevance. In 2012 she was one of 8 women selected by the American Film Institute for their Directing Workshop for Women.  Juliana plans to pursuit the production of the political thriller film she has under development, after completing the Landfill Harmonic documentary film.

Brad Allgood (Director/Editor/Director of Photography) Brad is an award-winning filmmaker with a background in international development and public health. His films have taken him into the heart of the Nicaraguan rainforest, as well as to remote Caribbean islands, the sparse Kalahari desert and dense African jungles. While working for PBS Marketing and Communications, he produced national campaigns for PBS programs including the Emmy Award-winning series Downton Abbey and the American Experience film Freedom Riders. Before transitioning to filmmaking, Brad served for 3 ½ years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. He holds a M.A. in Film and Video Production from American University and a B.S. in Biology and Geology from the University of Georgia.

Graham Townsley (Director) Graham is an emmy-nominated director of high-end documentaries for PBS, National Geographic and the Discovery channel; films such as “Becoming Human”, a 3-part series on human evolution for NOVA, “Dawn of the Maya”, “The Great Inca Rebellion”, “King Solomon’s Mines”, “Magic Mountain”, “Maya Apocalypse” and many more. He trained as an anthropologist and has a Ph.D from Cambridge University. He went on to work in ethnographic films for the BBC such as “The Shaman and his Apprentice” based on his own fieldwork with a tribe of the Peruvian Amazon and “From the Heart of the World”, a film about the Kogi Indians of the Sierra Nevada of Colombia. He lives in Washington DC.

Jorge Maldonado (Co-producer)  Jorge Maldonado is the Creative Director and co-founder of Hyperactive Productions, a Washington, DC based company specializing in video production, motion graphics, animation, visual effects and bilingual voice-overs. His television credits include Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, Travel Channel, PBS and The Smithsonian Channel. He has also worked on numerous projects for non-profit organizations such as Conservation International, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save The Children, and The World Bank.

Neil Barrett (Director of Photography)  Has worked on over 30 broadcast documentary films for National Geographic, BBC, PBS, Discovery, The History Channel,  NBC,  ABC and CNN. His films have been shown at the Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto, Fullframe,  SilverDocs, Jackson Hole and Los Angeles Film Festivals.  Three of his feature documentaries—”The Woodmans” (2010), “The Other City” (2009), and “Kicking it” (2008)– have been released theatrically in the United States.

Michael A. Levine (Composer) was the composer for the Jerry Bruckheimer/CBS dramas Cold Case and Close To Home for which he was awarded eight ASCAP awards as well as composer for the George Lucas-produced Star Wars: Detours animated SW parody. Michael also worked on a number of Hans Zimmer scores including The Simpsons Movie, Batman: Dark Knight, and Rango. He co-produced Lorde's cover of Everybody Wants to Rule The World in Hunger Games Catching Fire, wrote the theme for Scrat the squirrel from Ice Age and the music for the classic Kit Kat Gimme A Break jingle. Michael’s concert music includes Divination by Mirrors for Saw and Strings and Concerto for Pedal Steel Guitar and Orchestra.

“IT IS ENTIRELY MADE OF GARBAGE. THEY CALL IT 'THE RECYCLED ORCHESTRA'"

About

The Orchestra

Chávez got to know these kids and their families over 8 years ago while working on a waste recycling project at the landfill of Cateura. In this area more than 40% of children don't finish school because their parents need them to work. Being an environmental engineer but with a musical background, one day he decided to help the children by teaching them music lessons. The idea was simply to keep the kids from playing in the landfill.

“At first it was very difficult because we had no place to rehearse and we had to teach in the same place where the parents were working in the trash," said Chávez. "The children knew nothing about music and it was very difficult to contact parents because many of them do not live with their children."

Eventually, parents began to see that playing music was keeping their kids out of trouble, some even reclaiming children they had previously abandoned.

Soon there were more children wanting lessons than there were instruments, so Chávez and Nicolas “Cola” one of the garbage pickers experimented with making some out of recycled materials from the landfill.  String and wind instruments are made with oil tin cans, forks, bottle caps, and whatever is around.  "Eventually the recycled instruments were improved, and in many cases, they now sound better than the wooden Made In China instruments the more able children play on."

The recycled instruments serve another, more practical purpose: The kids can safely carry them. "For many children, it was impossible to give them a violin to take home because they had nowhere to keep it and their parents were afraid they would be robbed or the instrument would be sold to buy drugs."

The Orchestra had remained unheard of for many years. The launching of the Landfill harmonic short teaser on the Internet triggered a social media events that changed this. “More things have happened in the last 7 months, than in the last 7 years on our lives”.

The Orchestra has grown from just a few musicians to over 35. Their recent fame have peak the interest of the families and children of the community in such way, that many children are now enrolling for music classes. The music school of Cateura, does not have their own building yet, but teaches music and how to build recycled instruments to more than 200 kids of the landfill.

To learn more about the Orchestra please visit http://www.recycledorchestracateura.com/

A HEARTFELT STORY OF HOW MUSIC GAVE HOPE TO AN ENTIRE COMMUNITY

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OUR LIVES WERE CHANGED IN MAKING THIS FILM. AND WE HOPE IT WILL CHANGE YOURS.

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