30 Jun

Kickstarted: The First Documentary about Crowdfunding

Kickstarter campaigns have become a wildly successful way to fund projects of all types. Now a group of talented filmmakers are bringing this unique process to the screen in the documentary “Kickstarted: The First Documentary about Crowdfunding.”

The film takes an intimate look at the stories of the people behind these crowdfunding campaigns and the impact it’s made on a variety of industries, such as art, fashion, banking, film, nonprofit, and more. Crowdfunding marks a huge change that will have a lasting impact on the way we do business.

Kickstarted will tell the moving personal stories of the entrepreneurs, filmmakers, philanthropists, and more who have used this innovative fundraising platform to fund projects close to their heart. In fact, the producers are collecting submissions of real life stories from people who have used crowdfunding to finance their projects as a way to highlight the incredible amount of passion and work that goes into each and every campaign.

Crowdfunding Finances Life-Changing Film

Perhaps one of the most moving examples of a successful crowdfunding campaign is that of the Landfill Harmonic ─ a youth orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay. A very talented and creative garbage picker has used his imagination to craft musical instruments such as the violin, flute, drums, and cello from recycled drums, plastic pipes, and tin cans, for the children to play.

This touching documentary was produced by Alejandra Amarilla, who was instantly taken by the story of the Landfill Harmonic. Production began back in 2011, with the film crew documenting the beautiful sounds and amazing spirit of both these children and the surrounding community. Alejandra Amarilla and her team returned to Paraguay in 2012 to update the progress of three budding musicians who had recently joined the orchestra.

Landfill Harmonic is an incredible example of the power of crowdfunding. This amazing story wouldn’t have been shared with the world if not for the sheer dedication of Alejandra Amarilla and her team.

Secrets to Success

The producers set an initial fundraising goal of $175,000 to finance the Landfill Harmonic project. However, they were quickly able to exceed this goal by nearly 23 percent, to an overwhelming $214,129.

Alejandra Amarilla and her team were able to identify their target audience, encourage them to care about the Landfill Harmonic, and make them advocates to share this story with others. They understood that the most important element of a successful crowdfunding campaign is empowering your audience.

The inspirational story of the Landfill Harmonic can now be shared with the entire world, thanks to the tireless work of a production team with a solid vision and the generosity of more than 5,000 donors who were moved by this story.

28 Jun

Lessons Learned from Sundance Crowdfunding Campaigns

Not all great films have a Hollywood-style budget. In fact, many films that made their Sundance debut this year were funding by successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. A number of the festivals received anywhere from $12,000 to $3 million in crowdfunding.

There’s a number of lessons you can take away from these successful campaigns, whether you’re trying to fund an indie film or any other type of project. Keep the following four lessons in mind when planning your next crowdfunding campaign:

  • Do What Works for You: Don’t hold yourself to obtaining one set number of financial backers or feel like you need to offer perks worth a certain dollar amount. Consider what would interest your audience and create a plan that appeals to them.
  • Let Your Audience Participate: If there’s a way to engage your audience in your cause ─ do it! When people feel passionately about a certain subject matter, they want to do their part to help out.
  • Take Every Possible Marketing Opportunity: Use your campaign as a way to gain publicity for your company. Include marketing materials with each perk, such as a newsletter, email subscription, or promotional item.
  • Match Your Campaign to Your Project: Tap into your audience by creating a fun, eccentric campaign they can’t resist. Capitalize on what makes your project unique and center your campaign and perks around it.

 Alejandra Amarilla Leads Kickstarter Campaign for Landfill Harmonic

Heart icon of Paraguay

Crowdfunding campaigns are created to fund a wide variety of incredible causes. Alejandra Amarilla used this strategy to fund the Landfill Harmonic documentary.

This incredible film was produced to highlight an amazing children’s orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay, where young musicians play musical instruments crafted from trash. The Landfill Harmonic showcases the strength and dedication of the entire community, all working together to create instruments like the violin, flute, drums, cello, and string bass from recycled materials for the children to enjoy. Alejandra Amarilla and her team began production on the film back in 2011 and returned to the village in 2012 to gather updates on the progress of three children in the orchestra.

Alejandra Amarilla and her team set an initial fundraising goal of $175,000 to back costs to produce the film, sharing this amazing story with the world. However, their Kickstarter campaign was so successful, they were able to raise a total of $214,129 ─ exceeding their goal by an overwhelming 23 percent.

26 Jun

The Top Ten Crowdfunding Sites

Looking to raise money for a cause close to your heart? If so, a crowdfunding campaign is the way to go! If you’re not already familiar with the concept, a crowdfunding campaign allows you to raise money for a specific cause online, so you can work with people around the globe to help fund your crusade. Countless groups have successfully raised thousands ─ and even millions ─ of dollars online to reach their fundraising goals.

When it comes to choosing a platform for your donations, not all are created equally. Forbes recently published an article identifying the top 10 crowding funding sites, which include:

1.  Kickstarter: a site where creative projects can receive donation-based funding.

2.  Indiegogo: known as a place where donation-based funding is approved for basically any type of cause.

3.  Crowdfunder: this platform is aimed at helping businesses raise funds.

4.  RocketHub: collects donation-based funding for a wide-variety of creative projects.

5.  Crowdrise: charities and other causes use this site to raise money to support their missions.

6.  Somolend: a site dedicated to lending for U.S.-based small businesses.Word Cloud "Crowd Funding"

7.  appbackr: head here to get funding for your new mobile app project.

8.  AngelList: promising tech startups use AngelList to get their company off the ground.

9.  Invested.in: this software provider offers the tools to start your very own crowdfunding site.

10. Quirky: this site is the place for inventors to mingle and raise funds to create their next big product.

Alejandra Amarilla Tops Kickstarter Goal for Landfill Harmonic

There’s few Kickstarter campaigns more impressive than the story of Landfill Harmonic. A documentary produced by Alejandra Amarilla, the film tells the story of The Recycled Orchestra in Paraguay. The orchestra consists of a group of children from a shantytown called Cateura, and members play musical instruments made from the trash that fills their barrio.

Alejandra Amarilla initially set a fundraising goal of $175,000 to fund costs to produce the film and share this amazing story with the world. However, her Kickstarter campaign was so successful, she was able to raise a total of $214,129 ─ exceeding her goal by an overwhelming 23 percent.

whiteboard schema : crowdfunding cs5Approximately 5,000 people and organizations contributed to the Landfill Harmonic campaign. The goal was reached an entire week before its deadline, making it a raging success. Thanks to the hard work of Alejandra Amarilla, the team working with her, and everyone who generously donated to the cause, the incredible story of the Landfill Harmonic will now be given the worldwide attention it deserves.

24 Jun

Landfill Harmonic: A Lesson in Improvisation

IMG_6342The idea of making musical instruments out of trash might sound strange at first, but what if you knew that these instruments not only worked, but were capable of giving poor children something to be excited about? That’s the exact idea behind the “Recycled Orchestra” of Cateura, Paraguay.

A Struggling Community

Cateura is a small village built on top of a landfill in one of the poorest parts of South America. The area doesn’t have a lot of resources, and many of the villagers survive by sorting through garbage and looking for recyclables. This work often involves dragging heavy bags of trash for miles, resulting in a payoff of a measly few cents each day.

An Innovative Idea

The Recycled Orchestra was created by a man named Favio Chávez, who arrived in Cateura years ago and found himself in awe of the local children. He decided to open up a music school, hoping to empower the students, but he was faced with a problem: they didn’t own instruments, and Favio couldn’t afford to buy any. Determined to see the project through, he joined forces with others in the community on a mission to handmake instruments from junk from the landfill. More details will be added to the Alejandra Amarilla wiki page soon.

Thinking Outside the Box: The Power of Improvising

Most people see an object and only think of its typical uses. For example, if you see a button, you might only see it as something to fasten two pieces of fabric together. However, that button could also be used in many other ways: a guitar pick, a part of a board game, a piece of a sculpture. This is the type of improvisational thinking that has led to great inspiration and many innovative new ideas, which is why filmmaker Alejandra Amarilla was moved to the point of wanting to create a documentary about this wonderful project.

Landfill Harmonic: Inspiring and Moving

The Alejandra Amarilla wiki page will soon feature new information about this moving documentary. If you want to feel inspired and witness the power and creativity of the human spirit, check out the Alejandra Amarilla wiki page for more details. Alejandra is proud to document the beautiful people of Cateura and the way they are transforming trash into something greater than anyone could have imagined.

22 Jun

Landfill Harmonic Gets Write up on CBS

Landfill Harmonic, a documentary about the children from Paraguay and the orchestra they’ve created using musical instruments made from recycled trash, has been featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

The Alejandra Amarilla bio was part of the program. Alejandra is an activist, filmmaker and executive producer of the Landfill Harmonic documentary. Being a part of the filmmaking world was always one of her goals, and she continues to strive towards raising awareness by promoting this inspirational film.

 

Alejandra Amarilla Bio: Learn More About the Film’s Creator

Alejandra was already well-traveled by the time she eventually relocated to the United States. Despite her success as a personal trainer in New York, she felt compelled to stay true to her roots and help those from impoverished countries, such as her birthplace, Paraguay. As you will see in the Alejandra Amarilla bio, Alejandra has contributed to many humanitarian efforts, including helping a foundation’s efforts to give Paraguayan hospitals access to the equipment necessary to screen women for cervical cancer. The producers at 60 Minutes were drawn to the story that Alejandra covered within the documentary.

About Landfill Harmonic Documentary

Landfill Harmonic tells a story that will inspire people all around the world, which is why the trailer for the film has gone viral on Youtube. The documentary takes viewers along on a three-year journey from the creation of the orchestra to the group’s first concert abroad, which takes place in Brazil. It also gives a detailed and inspiring account of the Alejandra Amarilla bio and how she came to be so moved by this story. The incredibly special episode of 60 Minutes aired on November 17 of last year, and segments are available online.

20 Jun

Landfill Harmonic Exceeds its Kickstarter Goals

In the struggling community of Cateura, Paraguay, children are creating music using instruments made of trash.

Landfill Harmonic is a documentary film about “The Recycled Orchestra,” an amazing project that is changing lives and inspiring minds all around the world. The orchestra features poor children that make beautiful music using instruments that are created entirely from recycled garbage. The story is moving on many levels, because it not only involves the passion and raw emotional energy behind the art of making music, but it also helps people see creative solutions for the growing problem of waste management—something that affects communities all around the world.

The Landfill Harmonic Social Movement

The Alejandra Amarilla Twitter page will soon have more information about the innovative and inspiring social movements taking place around the world. Using the arts to change lives is an idea that many people can get behind, and projects similar to the Recycled Orchestra are developing in other areas around the world. When inspiration reaches millions across the Internet, anything can happen! Follow the Alejandra Amarilla twitter page for the latest updates.  

The Landfill Harmonic Exceeds its Kickstarter Goals

A great number of people care about the Landfill Harmonic project and have become involved in its success. So far, over $200,000 has been donated in less than two months. When it comes to the documentary itself, Alejandra has a few other major goals in mind:

  • Partnering with environmental organizations to help educate people on sustainability and recycling.

  • Raising awareness to other major organizations about opportunities to support struggling communities.

  • Inspiring people to think of innovative ways of recycling and reusing garbage.

  • Motivating youth to become more resourceful, creative and empowered.

  • Bringing attention to the situation in Cateura, where poor families live beside a polluted creek and are forced to sort through garbage to survive.

For more information about the Landfill Harmonic documentary and how to make a donation, follow the Alejandra Amarilla Twitter and Facebook page.

18 Jun

Landfill Harmonic Gets Press from NPR

Receiving press from a news organization as huge as NPR is a big deal for anyone, but for the children of Cateura, Paraguay, it could be life changing.

Recently, a Youtube video (also available on Vimeo) featuring the trailer for Landfill Harmonic began to receive viral attention. Created by filmmaker and activist Alejandra Amarilla, the documentary features an amazing group of children who, while born into underprivileged if not outright abysmal conditions, are filled with incredible love, light and hope. These children create beautiful music using instruments built from recycled garbage from the village’s local landfill, and their innovation and creativity have inspired millions worldwide—including those at NPR.

The Producer of the Landfill Harmonic Documentary

Alejandra Amarilla’s nationality is the same as these children, so she relates deeply to this cause. Alejandra was born in Paraguay, and because of her father’s business travels, she developed an intense awareness and connection to the world around her at an early age. Whether or not you share Alejandra Amarilla’s nationality, it’s likely that you will resonate with the amazing work being done in Cateura, Paraguay.

Focus on Creating Better Conditions

Did you know that the people of Earth generate up to a billion tons of garbage each year? Unfortunately, many people are forced to live in unsanitary conditions because they have no other method of dealing with their trash. Recycling garbage and turning it into something beautiful is a wonderful goal, but another goal of Alejandra’s is to educate communities on waste management and help spread the word about the terrible conditions that certain communities around the world are dealing with, whether or not they are Alejandra Amarilla’s nationality.

16 Jun

Union Farmers Mobilize in Paraguay

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On March 26, 2014, Paraguayan small farmer organizations and labor federations organized a strike in the capital city of Asuncion. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of all workers took part in the strike, bringing life as they knew it to a halt in Asuncion and other surrounding cities. The strike was originally planned for December of 2013, but because there were other protests going on at that time, labor leaders postponed the strike until March.

 The Reasons for the Strike

 In 2008, a left-leaning coalition helped elect Fernando Lugo as president, which ousted the Colorado party that previously held power for over 61 years. Then, in 2012, the congress of Paraguay illegally fired Fernando Lugo, claiming that he and his government didn’t properly handle certain land ownership issues. Paraguay is a huge grower of soybeans, and due to the expansion of the soy industry, many inequalities having to do with wealth and land ownership have come into play.450px-Soybeans_no-till.jpg

The organizers of the strike were calling for agrarian reform, an increase in wages, respect for life, better health care, free education, reduced transportation fares and a repeal of the government’s Public-Private Alliance. In response, current President Cartes agreed to a 10 percent wage increase—rejecting the 25 percent increase the protesters were seeking. Union leaders accepted this, but they warned that another strike would likely occur down the line if a better agreement wasn’t reached.

The Murder of Benjamin Lezcano

Human rights protestors are also calling for justice for the murder of union leader Benjamin Lezcano, which occurred in February. Lezcano was shot by two gunmen outside of his home in northern Paraguay. It is believed that this shooting was a result of the land conflicts that are currently taking place. Even worse, the Human Rights Committee of Paraguay claims that as many as 129 farmers have been murdered since 1989 because of this struggle over land. Lezcano was the leader of an organization that opposes the cultivation of genetically modified foods—a big issue for the soy industry.

The United States: Will They Get Involved?

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The United States has a long history of involvement with Paraguay. The government has expressed concern over the protests and anyone who endangers innocent lives or the stability of the area. In February, an Emergency Operations Center was installed in San Pedro and operated by the United States Southern Command. Some suggest that the base will actually be used as a military intelligence center rather than for the purposes of dealing with issues for the Paraguayan people.

The U.S. military has carried out training exercises with Paraguayan soldiers in the past, and in 2006, an airbase was reopened near the Bolivian border. It remains to be seen how much the United States will involve themselves if protests in the area begin to get out of control.

Alejandra Amarilla: Seeking Solutions for Struggling Countries

Documentary filmmaker and activist Alejandra Amarilla is moved by the struggles in Paraguay; born in the capital of Asuncion, she knows how hard the local people work to support their families. Alejandra Amarilla believes that through awareness, resourcefulness and creativity, struggling communities can begin to flourish. It isn’t until everyone adopts this mentality that things will begin to change.