Illuminate Film Fest: “Landfill Harmonic” Proves the Creative Human Spirit Can Always Triumph

Written by on May 28, 2015 in Entertainment, Films & TV, Media & Arts with 0 Comments

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Last night I had the great pleasure of attending the Arizona premiere of Landfill Harmonic at the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona, AZ. It was wonderful. I cried tears of joy several times during the screening.

Landfill Harmonic is a heartfelt, moving documentary that shows how the human spirit triumphs in even most trying living conditions.

The movie takes place in Cateura, a poor suburb of Paraguay, where most families make their living working in the local dump. It’s their job to pick through the tons of garbage that comes from nearby cities. Located in a huge flood zone, Cateura is an extremely challenging place to live, and the kids who grow up there rarely dare to dream of a bigger life.


Landfill Harmonic tells the story of how one man, Favio Chavez, changed everything for the people of Cateura when he decided to teach the children how to play music. There was only one problem: there were lots of children who wanted to learn and only a few instruments. This is understandable since most violins are worth more than one of the shack-homes in Cateura.

Favio asked one of the town’s garbage pickers, who also happened to be a carpenter, if he could make instruments out of the garbage. With great tenacity, he learned to turn tin drums, wooden spoons, metal forks, and even x-ray film into drums, violins, guitars, and more. Soon, the kids were playing music together as the “Recycled Orchestra of Cateura.”

The inspiring film follows the kids as they learn to master their instruments, play together, step into the limelight (particularly when a YouTube video of them goes viral – see below), and continue to deal with the hardships of living in a poor, environmentally-challenged town.

I’m not going to give away any more of the story, but suffice it to say that Landfill Harmonic has more drama, character growth, excitement, and emotional impact than most fictional films. There’s even a cameo of a famous rock star who was touched and impressed by the kids.

The bottom line is Landfill Harmonic is a documentary you have to see.  Here’s the original teaser for the film:

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