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.
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.