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Filmmakers Crowdfund Documentary on Paraguay's ‘Recycled Orchestra’

The children of Cateura, a slum outside Asunción, Paraguay, live surrounded by trash. In a place where a violin costs more than a house, musician Fabio Chavez is transforming children's lives by teaching them to play music with instruments made out of trash.

Now, one filmmaking team wants to capture their inspiring story in a documentary and is turning to crowdfunding website Kickstarter to do so.

The upcoming film “Landfill Harmonic” is described on Kickstarter as “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.

Their goal is to raise $175,000 to complete two main production trips. They plan to complete post-production of the documentary by the end of 2013. At the time this post was published, they had raised more than $21,000 with 44 days to go in the campaign.

The filmmakers share a teaser of the movie on Vimeo:

Production for “Landfill Harmonic” began in 2010, after executive producer Alejandra Amarilla Nash and producer Juliana Penaranda-Loftus discovered the orchestra while doing research for a documentary about underprivileged children in Paraguay. The Facebook page for the film explains the living conditions of children in Cateura:

Cateura, Paraguay is a town essentially built on top of a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods, and children are often at risk of getting involved with drugs and gangs. When music teacher Fabio set up a music program for the kids of Cateura, they soon have more students than they have instruments.

Many netizens from around the world have been touched by the story of The Recycled Orchestra. On Vimeo, Susan McGraw Keber shared her reaction:

Exceptional….brought tears to my eyes…we who have so much and who discard so much…this is an example we all need to see and hear!

Vimeo user TheGate-Web wrote:

Realmente conmovedor. Y pensar que la gente se queja por tantas estupideces, mientras estos muchachos, sin ningún tipo de posibilidades, tienen la voluntad y el ingenio de crear magia sacando notas celestiales a través de sus rudimentarios instrumentos. Gracias por la lección, aún nos queda mucho por aprender.

Truly touching. And to think that people complain about so many stupid things, while these kids, without any type of possibilities, have the will and ingenuity to create magic with celestial musical notes through their rudimentary instruments. Thank you for the lesson, we still have a lot to learn.

Paraguayan music students show their instruments made out of trash. Photo shared on Facebook by Landfill Harmonic

Paraguayan music students show their instruments made out of trash. Photo shared on Facebook by Landfill Harmonic

You can learn more about The Recycled Orchestra on Kickstarter and follow “Landfill Harmonic” on Facebook.

  • F.A. Hutchison

    Wonderful story, thanks!

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