Ruben Hernandez

Landfill Harmonic

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LH_peopleAlejandra was born in Asunción. She is a social activist who was formerly married to ex-star of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, Steve Nash. They have three children together.

In April, 2012, Rodolfo Madero from Mexico joined the team. “I learned about the Recycled orchestra from Juliana and Alejandra,” Rodolfo Madero told Latino Perspectives. He says that he and Juliana have collaborated with each other on film projects for years.

This story has so many approaches that there is no way not to be moved by it. These children are making music out of trash. That alone is a huge idea, and leads to many other social issues: the environment, poverty, a community that no one cared about before, especially governments in Latino American countries. All these social issues collide in this film,” says Madero, an experienced film music composer as well as a film producer. He created the music for the award-winning documentary, Artist of Resistance. 

Alejandra and Juliana had been researching and filming the story for years, making their documentary on a shoestring budget. Using Juliana’s film industry contacts, they have recruited a seasoned team that includes Rodolfo as executive producer, the Emmy-nominated Graham Townsley as director, Jorge Maldonado as co-producer, and Jennifer Redfearn as consulting producer, Tim Fabrizio and Neil Barrett as directors of photography, and Monica Barrios as production consultant.

The team has created a Facebook page and posted a short teaser/trailer on Vimeo and YouTube that has gone viral, getting more than three million views (

“I dreamed of the opportunity to help my country in a creative way, a way of bringing awareness to issues that revolve around children and women … [the] Los Reciclados story instantly took my breath away,” Amarilla-Nash says.  

Production for the documentary began in 2010, when the team went to Paraguay to film the children in the orchestra, their parents and community leaders. They spent time with Chavez and Gomez the garbage picker, who showed the crew how he created violins, flutes and drums from recycled metal barrels, tin cans and plastic pipes.

The team filmed through 2012, with a focus on profiling three of the children in the orchestra: Tania, Maria and Ada. Chavez and Gomez are also followed in the film. 

Their goal is to complete post-production of the documentary by the end of 2013. Until then, some images of the film will be displayed in the MIM’s permanent exhibition of the collection of recycled musical instruments in the Latin American wing.

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