All posts by ale_admin

28 Apr

Community Development through Music

Communities need one common cause to pull everyone together. In Cateura, Paraguay, music is the common denominator that unites residents. Specifically, it’s a children’s orchestra called the Landfill Harmonic.

Musical Instruments Made from Trash

Parents in Cateura don’t have the money to purchase musical instruments for their children. As a result, music wasn’t a big part of the local community, until a local garbage picker changed everything. Affectionately known as “Cola,” he worked together with musician Favio Chavez to craft musical instruments from trash for the children. While “Cola” had never even heard classical music or seen many musical instruments himself, he was able to create flutes from pipes, guitars from packing crates and violins from oil drums, just to name a few.

Located in one of the poorest slums in Latin America, the children of Cateura previously didn’t even have hope of ever picking up a musical instrument, much less learning to play one.

The Recycled Orchestra, otherwise known as the Landfill Harmonic, is a product of a community that worked together to create something magical for its children. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of people like “Cola” and Favio Chavez, these young musicians have a bright future to look forward to.

This incredible story reveals how discarded items can be repurposed into musical instruments that make truly beautiful sounds, while helping to create an amazing transformation in innocent young children.

Alejandra Amarilla produces Landfill Harmonic Documentary

The story of the Landfill Harmonic is truly incredible. No one believes this more than Paraguayan filmmaker Alejandra Amarilla, who dedicated herself to producing a documentary on this incredible group of young musicians.

Production began in 2010, when Alejandra Amarilla and her team traveled to Paraguay to film the young musicians hard at work in their orchestra. The filmmakers returned to the village in 2011 to continue filming and get an update on the progress of three children who had recently joined the group. Filming resumed in 2012 and the team continued to follow the Recycled Orchestra into 2013.

The production team used crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise money to make the film. While their original goal was $175,000, they were able to raise an overwhelming $214,129. The thousands of donors were so touched by the story that they helped the team raise nearly 23 percent more than their target goal.

The extra funds allowed Alejandra Amarilla and her team to finish the film and send the Recycled Orchestra on tour. The group’s official 2014 Recycled Orchestra tour will stop in most major U.S. cities, allowing donors to see the children and hear their beautiful music in-person.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the production team, this story can now be shared with the whole world.

25 Apr

Best Documentaries Since 2010

Filmmakers produce countless documentaries each year, but not all are created equally. Some incredible filmmakers are able to capture a story that touches the hearts of many, causing their film to achieve overwhelming success, while others don’t quite hit the mark. The following five films are widely considered to be among the best documentaries made since 2010:

20 Feet from Stardom

Behind many successful musicians is a group of talented backup singers that remain nameless. The documentary 20 Feet from Stardom tells the story of many backup singers who spent their careers harmonizing with other talented artists. Described by Rotten Tomatoes as “triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure,” the film tells a story never before heard. While it features interviews with superstars like Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting, this is one show these musicians don’t headline.

The Landfill Harmonic

Produced by filmmaker, Alejandra Amarilla and her team, the Landfill Harmonic tells the story of a youth orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay. The children play instruments constructed from trash and recycled materials, made by a humble-yet-gifted garbage picker. Alejandra Amarilla traveled to Paraguay to begin production in 2010, filming the young musicians. She and her team returned to get an update on the progress of a few budding musicians in 2011. Alejandra Amarilla’s touching tribute to the children of the Landfill Harmonic is life-changing for many who have watched it. The story focuses on the amazing things a community can do when they band together to achieve a common goal. Thanks to Alejandra Amarilla and her team, the world is now able to know the brilliance of the Landfill Harmonic.


Often described as a tearjerker, Blackfish explores the behind-the-scenes treatment of orcas, otherwise known as killer whales, in sea parks. While the public loves to watch these creatures perform tricks with their trainers, they are seemingly unaware of the animal’s violent nature. The film tells the story of performing whale Tilikum, who has killed several people in captivity ─ unlike any orca in the wild. It may cause you to re-think your love of popular sea parks, as many aren’t properly caring for their animals.

Life Itself

Produced by big names, including Martin Scorsese, Life Itself tells the story of world-famous film critic Roger Ebert. Based on his bestselling memoir with the same title, the documentary explores Ebert’s rise to fame as one of the most respected opinion makers in the country.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

The documentary tells the story of Jiro Ono, largely considered the best sushi chef in the world. Ono is the owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a tiny, 10-seat restaurant in a Tokyo subway station that was awarded a 3-Michelin-star rating. The film highlights the personal and professional life of 85-year-old Ono.

23 Apr

How to Support Music Programs

Documentaries are a great way for organizations to share their story with the world. Many people appreciate the chance to learn more about the music community and the many different groups in need of funding, supplies and other forms of support.

One incredible example of a documentary that made an impact is the work that Alejandra Amarilla did on the Landfill Harmonic. The film received financing through a successful crowdfunding campaign and tells the story of a youth orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay.

Produced by Alejandra Amarilla, the film chronicles the humble beginnings of the group, starting from the creative imagination of a garbage picker who created the instruments for the children from recycled materials such as plastic pipes, metal drums and tin cans.

The film highlights the overwhelming impact music programs can have on a community. Production on the documentary began in 2010, filming a group of children learning to play the drums, violin, cello, flute and more. The crew made a return visit in 2011 to record the progress of three of the talented young musicians.

Alejandra Amarilla Supports Music Programs in Paraguay

The Landfill Harmonic documentary makes it possible to share the story of this amazing music program with the world. Thanks to the hard work of Alejandra Amarilla and the rest of her production team, the moving story highlighting the ability of this group to repurpose trash and recyclables into instruments producing beautiful sounds can serve as an inspiration to all.

Nearly 5,000 people and organizations banded together to fund this life-changing documentary on Kickstarter. Alejandra Amarilla and her team initially set a goal of $175,000 to produce the project but were able to raise 23 percent more, totaling $214,129.

Other Ways to Support Music Programs

Music programs are an important way for both children and adults to express themselves. Creating a documentary highlighting the benefits of the program is a great way to get the word out and help promote the cause. However, it’s certainly not the only way to support these valuable programs.

If you’re looking to help gain funding for a music program close to your heart, there are a number of effective ways to get the word out. In fact, most efforts can be completed in conjunction with one another to increase momentum. The more work done to get the word out, the better the chance of meeting ─ or even exceeding ─ funding goals.

Here are a few other great ways to support music programs:

·        Sharing fundraising efforts on social media

·        Making a monetary donation to the cause

·        Gathering a group of friends and family members to attend performances

·        Volunteering your time to sell tickets to events

·        Donating new and used musical instruments to the group

20 Apr

Indigogo vs. Kickstarter

CrowdfundingChoosing the right crowdfunding platform can make or break the success of your marketing campaign. However, with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one to go with.

Two of the most popular and successful sites, Indigogo and Kickstarter, always serve as great options, with easy-use-interfaces making it simple to raise money for your cause.

Lazer Team Raises $2,480,259 on Indiegogo

The highest funded project to-date on Indiegogo actually ended recently, in July 2014. Rooster Team, the company responsible for films including Red vs. Blue, Achievement Hunter and RWBY, successfully funded their first feature movie. The team set out to earn just $650,000, but ultimately raised an overwhelming $2,480,259.

The project at-hand, Lazer Team, tells the story of an extraterrestrial intelligence project that received a one-time signal from outer space. The live action sci-fi comedy takes place decades later in the aftermath of the event.

Rooster Team now has more than enough funding to complete their first feature film, ensuring it will be even better than the team originally hoped. This success story proves that hard work and dedication pay off.

The Landfill Harmonic Surpasses Kickstarter Goal by Nearly 23 Percent

Paraguayan filmmaker Alejandra Amarilla has another wildly successful crowdfunding story. Her documentary, the Landfill Harmonic received overwhelming support from donors on Kickstarter, allowing her team to surpass its fundraising goal by nearly 23 percent.

Nearly 5,000 generous donors gave money to help fund the project. Alejandra Amarilla and her team set an initial goal of $175,000 for funding, but were actually able to raise an overwhelming $214,129. Thanks to the support of these incredible people, the film was able to surpass expectations, touching the lives of everyone who has seen it.

The incredibly moving documentary tells the story of a children’s’ orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay. A humble garbage picker has changed the lives of these young musicians, crafting musical instruments for them out of trash and other recycled materials like plastic pipes, metal drums and tin cans. While he had never heard classical music or even seen many musical instruments, he was able to use his creative imagination and gifted hands to craft instruments for the children.

Production on the film started back in 2010, when a group of children began to learn to play instruments such as the cello, flute, violin and drums. Alejandra Amarilla and the rest of the documentary crew returned to Paraguay in 2011, to film an update on the progress of three promising young musicians.

Due to the hard work and dedication of Alejandra Amarilla and her team, this amazing story is now known worldwide. It brings the beauty of music to light and highlights the magic that can happen when a community works together to support an incredible cause.

16 Apr

Crowdfunding vs. Grants

If you’re trying to raise money to film a documentary, create the next “big” app or support a cause near and dear to your heart, you’ve probably researched the benefits of crowdfunding vs. grants. While both provide the necessary funding to finance important projects, the two have a number of differences. The nature of your project and the organization you’re working with will likely determine the route you take.

Crowdfunding vs. Grants

Not sure whether you should be pursuing crowdfunding or grants? Learn more about these two funding methods to help decide which is right for you:

  • Revenue Source: Crowdfunding backing comes from a diverse group of people making individual contributions to support your cause, whereas grants are funding by institutions.

  • Crowd FundingAvailability: There are countless crowdfunding programs to choose from, allowing you to select the most suitable to your target market. Conversely, as federal funds and financial support from other organizations continue to decrease, competition for grants is more intense

  • Selection Criteria: To gain financing through crowdfunding, users are typically required to set up a campaign on their platform of choice and promote that campaign. However, grants often have a lengthier application process, including interviews, essays and more.

The Landfill Harmonic Enjoys Overwhelming Kickstarter Success

The team behind the wildly successful Landfill Harmonic documentary experienced overwhelming success raising money for the film on crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Produced by Alejandra Amarilla and her team, the film tells the story of a youth orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay. A resourceful and creative garbage picker uses his imagination to make instruments for the young musicians out of recyclable materials like plastic pipes, metal drums and tin cans.

Production began back in 2010, with the filming of a group of children learning to play the drums, violin, cello, flute and other musical instruments. The film crew returned in 2011 for an update on the progress of the young musicians.

The project became a Kickstarter sensation, with nearly 5,000 donors banding together to provide financing. While Alejandra Amarilla and her team had originally set a fundraising goal of $175,000, they ultimately earned $214,129 ─ an awe-inspiring 23 percent increase. Thanks to the hard work of Alejandra Amarilla and her team and the generosity of the donors, the world can now have a glimpse of what can happen when a community comes together to do something truly great.

A highly successful crowdfunding campaign made all of this possible. The savvy work of Alejandra Amarilla and her team produced a beautiful documentary to share with the world. People are now able to watch the story of the Landfill Harmonic and become inspired by the incredibly moving story of how trash and recycled materials can be transformed into something beautiful.

13 Apr

Top 3 Most Innovative Music Initiatives

Music is one of the most beautiful languages. It can be shared across cultures throughout the world. However, many music programs have little to no funding. They rely on fundraising campaigns to raise much-needed funds to keep their organizations up and running.

While initiatives like car washes and bake sales will raise some money, these tired methods won’t make a dent in the amount needed to support these programs. The music initiatives below represent a few outside-the-box ways in which music organizations raised serious funds.

Foothill Harmonic Hosts David Benoit

The Foothill Harmonic, based in Claremont, CA, put on a fundraiser to remember this past April,by hosting an evening with Grammy-nominated contemporary jazz pianist/composer David Benoit. The performer played a show lasting approximately an hour and stayed around afterwards to take pictures, sign autographs and chat with attendees.

Additionally, guests enjoyed a fun reception after the concert, including wine and appetizers.

Proceeds from the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year helped provide music education to local students. The Foothill Harmonic is one of 16 affiliate groups dedicated to supporting the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Greenville Symphony Sponsors the Downtown Condo Rondo

The Guild of the Greenville Symphony ,based in Greenville, South Carolina ,held The Downtown Condo Rondo on May 10. The event, a walking tour of five condominiums during Artisphere, helped raise money for the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.

A number of sponsors banded together to make the difficult-to-coordinate event a success. This unique fundraising idea sparked a lot of interest from the community, both raising money for the symphony and promoting the organization in the community.

Landfill Harmonic Kickstarter Campaign

Alejandra Amarilla and her team used an innovative approach to film their documentary of the Paraguay-based youth orchestra Landfill Harmonic.

This touching film was created to promote the incredible children’s orchestra located deep in the barrios of Paraguay. Young musicians play instruments crafted from trash and recycled materials, making the best of what they have.

Alejandra Amarilla and her team used the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to meet their initial fundraising goal of $175,000 to produce the documentary. However, their campaign touched so many people that they were able to exceed their goal by 23 percent, totaling an overwhelming $214,129.

The Landfill Harmonic documentary brings to light the magic that can happen when an entire community works together to promote music. Thanks to Alejandra Amarilla and her team, this incredible story can now be shared with the world. They traveled to Paraguay in 2010 to begin production on the film and returned in 2011 to get updates on the progress of a few of the young musicians.

The dedication this Paraguay community has to music is simply beautiful. The awareness that Alejandra Amarilla and her team has brought to the organization will help them continue to thrive and keep the music alive in their country.

09 Apr

Landfill Harmonic’s Successful Marketing

Every marketer hopes their campaign will reach groundbreaking levels of success, but not everyone has the ability to do so. Alejandra Amarilla and her team did just that. Their savvy thinking and innovative marketing strategies helped promote the Landfill Harmonic documentary, sharing the beautiful story with millions of people within mere days.

60 minutesLandfill Harmonic Featured on 60 Minutes

Having your documentary featured on 60 Minutes is a dream come true for every filmmaker; however, most never have the opportunity to experience such success. Alejandra Amarilla is certainly an exception, as the Landfill Harmonic documentary had a segment on the show.

The film caught the attention of 60 Minutes producers after she posted a short trailer about the youth orchestra online. The film went viral and, in just a few days, millions of people had watched the trailer and donations for the film and new instruments for the young musicians began pouring in.

In fact, a 60 Minutes crew even traveled to Paraguay to film the group. They were there to see a truckload of new musical instruments arrive for the children ─ a gift from a very generous American music shop owner.

The 60 Minutes team also spent time talking with Don Cola, the humble garbage picker who makes the instruments for the children from trash and recycled items. They were amazed at the man’s ability to create musical instruments from virtually anything, especially as he had never heard classical music or even seen many musical instruments in his life.

The national exposure the film received from this segment is simply amazing. Thanks to the smart marketing techniques used by Alejandra Amarilla, the film received the attention it deserves.

Landfill Harmonic Documentary Touches Millions

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Alejandra Amarilla and her team, the touching story of the Landfill Harmonic is now known worldwide.

The crew began filming in 2010 and returned in 2011 to get an update on the progress of three young musicians. The story chronicles the youth orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay, whose members’ lives have been touched by the power of music.

The children’s families did not have the money to purchase musical instruments for them, so a wildly talented garbage picker crafted them by hand from bits of trash and recycled materials.

The project was financed on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. More than 5,000 donors were so moved by the story that they gave their own money to help fund production costs.

The team set an initial fundraising goal of $175,000 to cover production costs but actually raised $214,129 due to overwhelming support from donors. People felt very empowered by this story and dedicated to creating a bright future for the children of the Landfill Harmonic orchestra.

05 Apr

3 Reasons Crowdfunding Works

Over the past couple of years, crowdfunding has become an enormously popular way to raise money for a wealth of creative endeavors, from new product inventions to blockbuster hits such as Zach Braff’s new film, Wish I Were Here. It’s remarkable to consider how quickly this trend has become commonplace in our society, but perhaps it should come as no surprise. .

3 Reasons Crowdfunding Works

There are a number of reasons why crowdfunding has been so wildly successful. However, the following likely offer the biggest explanations:

1. People Love to Support a Good Cause

In general, people really enjoy being part of something good. If someone has the extra money to donate to a cause they believe in, they’re going to do so. Helping to support a cause close to your heart is something many people cherish.

2. It’s Fun

Let’s face it. Being part of a crowdfunding campaign is really fun. There’s only a limited amount of time to raise money for the cause, so the campaign period is filled with energy as supporters work hard to create momentum for the cause. Donors can typically keep track of the progress towards the goal in real time, making it fascinating to watch the magic that can happen when people work together on something worthwhile.

3. Donors Receive Tangible Benefits

While many people are more than willing to donate for a cause and receive nothing but satisfaction in return, it’s always more fun to receive tangible benefits. Those donating to crowdfunding campaigns are often privy to special benefits such as product memorabilia, movie screenings, access to special events and much, much more.

Alejandra Amarilla Runs Wildly Successful Kickstarter Campaign

Paraguayan filmmaker Alejandra Amarilla knows a thing or two about running a successful crowdfunding campaign. She recently completed an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised an overwhelming 23% more than the target goal.

The project was The Landfill Harmonic documentary, based on a children’s orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay that plays musical instruments made from trash. Alejandra Amarilla and her team first visited the group in 2010, documenting their incredible music program. They returned to film follow-ups on three of the children in 2011.

While the team planned to turn the footage into a documentary, they needed to raise $175,000 to fund production costs. The story of The Recycled Orchestra touched the lives of nearly 5,000 donors, garnering a total of $214,129.

As a result of the success of this campaign, Alejandra Amarilla and her team were not only able to complete The Landfill Harmonic documentary, but they used the additional funds to help the members of The Recycled Orchestra embark on a worldwide tour.

The success of this Kickstarter campaign makes it possible for the story of this incredible group of children to be shared with the world. People can watch The Landfill Harmonic documentary for years to come, serving as a source of inspiration to all.

02 Apr

How Music Can Make People Generous

The brain is the largest control center in the body. The largest part is the cerebral cortex, which is divided into two parts. The left brain focuses on analytical thinking, while the right brain works to process information in a more creative manner. A little thing called the corpus callosum connects the left and right brain, making it possible for the two hemispheres to communicate.

The Power of Music

Music has the power to alter our state of consciousness. In fact, it may incite the flow of stored memory across the corpus callosum, allowing the left and right brain to work together. Music initially triggers the right hemisphere, as it is nonverbal in nature, but when words are incorporated, it signals the left brain, facilitating communication between the two hemispheres.

One doesn’t even have to listen to music to hear it. Robert Zatorre and his colleagues discovered that imagining the music playing can effectively stimulate the auditory cortex, even if there is no sound in the room. Music also has the power to create synthesia, causing a person to see a color, smell a scent, experience the sensation of a taste, or feel a temperature change as a result of the music they’re listening to.

Music has also been proven to both stimulate creativity and make people more generous. Simply listening to music helps stimulate the mind while relaxing the body, helping to induce a level of generosity not present without it.

Alejandra Amarilla Supports The Recycled Orchestra

Many children grow up learning to play a musical instrument, but for youth living in the barrios of Paraguay, this was once just a dream.

Paraguayan filmmaker Alejandra Amarilla and her team wanted to do something when they heard the story of The Recycled Orchestra. Started from the creativity of a humble garbage picker, this youth orchestra made music with instruments crafted entirely from trash.

Using the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, Alejandra Amarilla and her team worked hard to meet their initial fundraising goal of $175,000 to produce The Landfill Harmonic documentary, telling the story of The Recycled Orchestra. However, they were able to surpass their initial goal by 23%, raising a total of $214,129.

Thanks to Alejandra Amarilla and her team, this incredible story is now known worldwide. It is truly amazing to see the amazing things that can happen when an entire community works together to support a music program in the best way they know how.

The documentary brings a level of awareness to The Recycled Orchestra that they never would have been able to achieve without it. This moving story can now continue to touch the lives of everyone who hears it for years to come.

28 Mar

Landfill Harmonic Improves the Environment

The Landfill Harmonic documentary tells the incredible story of a youth orchestra in the barrios of Paraguay and the incredible impact that music can have on a community. However, music is not the only thing worth noting about this incredible film. The residents of Cateura, Paraguay also teach the world a very valuable lesson: the endless possibilities that can be created from recycling.

Cateura is located on the banks of a dusty, polluted river. The landfill takes up most of the tiny town, with families living amongst the rubbish. Residents spend their days sorting through the rubbish, hoping to find pieces to sell or to put to use for their families. While this lifestyle can be very risky, it is a necessity for the people of this town. This practice is, of course, where the idea for The Recycled Orchestra was born.

The Landfill Harmonic Teaches a Valuable Lesson in Recycling

Thanks to Alejandra Amarilla and her hardworking team, the story of The Recycled Orchestra is now known throughout the world. Not only does this inspirational group showcase the power of music, they have also made a profound impact on the environment.

All instruments played by members of The Recycled Orchestra are made from trash found in the Cateura landfill. While people may not have originally ever thought to save their recyclables to craft into musical instruments, there’s a good chance many will now do. The group used discarded materials like wood and scrap metal to craft instruments that produce beautiful sounds, such as cellos, guitars and violins. They also used coins, old water pipes and flatware to craft flutes, clarinets and saxophones and so much more.

It’s hard to imagine that all this creativity and greatness was derived from the mind of one man ─ a humble garbage picker who wanted to give the children of Cateura a talent that would help them create a brighter future for themselves.

Sharing the Story of The Recycled Orchestra

When Paraguayan filmmaker Alejandra Amarilla first heard of The Recycled Orchestra, she was immediately touched by this incredible group. She wanted to share the amazing story of the group of children who have so little but managed to do more than most people who have so much more.

Alejandra Amarilla and her team traveled to Paraguay in 2010 to film the group. They returned again in 2011 for a follow-up visit and have made subsequent trips back since. When they had enough footage to turn into a documentary, they were tasked with raising the necessary funds to cover the costs.

Thanks to an incredibly savvy Kickstarter campaign led by Alejandra Amarilla, the team was able to raise more than enough money to produce this life-changing film.