Through the Independent Film Lens

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“Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste”. ~Benjamin Franklin

Mark your calendars! Next week, on Tuesday, April 19th at 10pm Waste Land, can be viewed right from the surrounds of your own home. This film about Brazilian artist Vik Muniz will be aired on the PBS show, Independent Lens. 

On the outskirts of Rio de Janiero sits the world’s largest garbage dump, the Jardim Gramacho. Renowned artist, Vik Muniz sets out to create from the photographs he took of the catadores (garbage pickers), human portraits using recyclables from the dump. 

Despite the garbage picker’s lack of traditional employment and non-existant monetary stability, Muniz witnessed camaraderie and good spirit between this eclectic group of people. Muniz engages the catadores in collaborative work to gather recyclables to create his art, and gives the proceeds from the sales of the finished pieces back to the trash pickers. He raises their living conditions, repairs trucks essential to their work, and even builds a library to help them become more educated. All in all, he creates an environment whereby the trash pickers can have more fulfilling lives. 

This independent film demonstrates how trash from an overly-consuming, throw-away society can be recycled into a project of transformative art. For more information on viewing this powerful film from your area, please visit

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