(99 minutes) Brazil/UK/USA
Directors: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim
Producers: Angus Aynsley, Hank Levine
Filmed over nearly three years, Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of catadores—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. The filmmakers had exceptional access to the entire process and, in the end, offer stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.
Lucy Walker uses dramatic filmmaking techniques to make documentary films, following memorable characters on transformative journeys that grant unique access inside closed worlds. Lucy’s first feature documentary, Devil’s Playground, examined the struggles of Amish teenagers during their period of experimentation (rumspringa). It premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win multiple awards.
João Jardim’s first feature film, Janela Da Alma is a documentary in which nineteen people with different degrees of visual impairment discuss how they see themselves and others. For television, João has directed several series for Globo TV including Por Toda a Minda Vida for which João was nominated for the 2007/2008 International Emmy Award for Best Art.
Co-director Karen Harley started her career as an editor on the award-winning Brazilian TV miniseries Memorial De Maria Moura. Her second film as an editor was the Oscar nominated feature O Quatrilho. In 2001 Karen worked as editor on João Jardim and Walter Carvalho’s award-winning documentary Windows of the Soul for which she received a nomination for the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize, Best Editing Award. That same year Karen also directed her first documentary short, a biographical portrait of the Brazilian artist Leonilson who died of AIDS in 1993.
Web site: www.wastelandmovie.com