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Garbage band: Semifinalist in Sundance competition showcases orchestra made from trash (+video)

Published: Monday, Jan. 7 2013 9:00 a.m. MST

The Recycled Orchestra conducted by Luis Szaran

Landfill Harmonic

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A semifinalist in the Sundance Focus Forward Filmmaker Competition has an unique orchestra: The instruments are made completely from garbage.

Landfill Harmonic is based in Cateura, Paraguay, a town built on a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods to piece together an income. Favio Chvez, an ecological technician, had the idea to introduce music to the children in the area.

At the beginning, there were 50 students enrolled in the "Recycled Orchestra," but there were only five violins available, with each violin costing more than a local house. To accommodate additional students, Chvez decided to make instruments from things he found in the landfills like forks, cans, casserole dishes, bottle caps and water pipes.

One day it occurred to me to teach music to the children of the recyclers and use my personal instruments, Chvez, 36, told Fox News Latino. But it got to the point that there were too many students and not enough supply. So thats when I decided to experiment and try to actually create a few.

The orchestra gives hope for a brighter future to a community where children often turn to gangs or drug use.

"The orchestra has given a new meaning to my life, because in Cateura, unfortunately, many young people don't have opportunities to study, because they have to work or they're addicted to alcohol and drugs," Ada Rios, a 14-year-old first violinist told the Associated Press.

The film was produced by Juliana Penaranda-Loftus and was voted into the top 10 audience favorites for the Forward Filmmaker Competition. In mid-January, a nine-member jury will choose five films to receive cash prizes at Sundance 2013, including a $100,000 Grand Prize.

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