Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Landfill Harmonic 2015

Directed by Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

A children’s orchestra playing instruments fashioned from trash brings their impoverished home in Paraguay to the attention of the world in this SXSW Audience Award-winning doco.

USA In Spanish with English subtitles
84 minutes DCP
Exempt

Co-director, Producer

Juliana Penaranda-Loftus

Photography

Neil Barrett
,
Timothy Fabrizio
,
Brad Allgood

Editor

Brad Allgood

Music

Michael A. Levine

With

The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura

Festivals

SXSW 2015

Awards

Audience Award (24 Beats Per Second), SXSW Film Festival 2015

The ingenuity of a music teacher provides the means for children from a poor South American community to reach out to the world at large in this uplifting documentary. Their home is one of the grimiest locations in South America – an enormous landfill sprawling across the flood plains of Paraguay. Scavenging materials from the dump, a rubbish picker and a music teacher begin to improvise instruments. Used X-ray printouts serve as the skins of a drum set. A battered aluminium salad bowl and strings tuned with table forks make a violin. Bottle caps work perfectly as keys for a saxophone. Soon they enlist children from local families to join a small orchestra.

Filmed over five years, Landfill Harmonic follows their progress as they tentatively begin to perform orchestral classics in public. Boosted by a viral video and a growing fan base which includes their heroes-turned-sponsors, Megadeth, the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura travels the world. When floods engulf their ramshackle housing, can the visibility these children have achieved through music make a difference for their families back home?