The Touching Story Behind Paraguay’s Landfill Orchestra: Now Told in Film, and Soon a Book

Back in 2012, I first told you about the amazing youth chamber orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay. The families from this small impoverished town, located alongside a vast landfill, can’t afford many luxuries — like buying instruments for their kids. But what they lack in money, they make up for in ingenuity and good spirit. The short documentary above gives you a glimpse of their touching story, showing how creative leaders in the community fashioned instruments with their own hands, turning oil cans into cellos, and aluminum bowls into violins. Watch them in action:

But why stop with the short story, when you can get the longer story. Last week, a full blown film called Landfill Harmonic premiered at the SXSW Film Festival 2015. And now the film (see a short trailer here) will be screened at selected film festivals while the producers try to find a distributor who can bring the production to a wider audience. And, in another piece of good news, Simon & Schuster announced that it plans to publish a picture book about the Recycled Orchestra. Look for Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay in March 2016.

You can watch Landfill Harmonic at the festivals mentioned below. To keep tabs on future showings, follow this Facebook page.

  • New York Children’s Film Festival March 21, 2015
  • Environmental Film Festival DC March 25, 2015
  • TIFF Kid’s Film Festival April 10 – 17, 2015

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.