In 2008, Executive Producer Alejandra Amarilla contacted Co-Director Juliana Penaranda-Loftus to discuss the idea of making a documentary about underserved children in Paraguay, her home country. In 2009, Alejandra and Juliana traveled to Paraguay to research potential topics. On the last day of their trip, they learned about Favio Chavez and his efforts to teach music using instruments made from recycled trash to the children of a community settled next to a landfill. In 2010, Alejandra and Juliana returned to Paraguay to film Chavez, who had become the director of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura and had founded a music school.

During a trip in 2011, Alejandra and Juliana followed a group of kids that became the central characters in the film. In 2012, Rodolfo Madero became Executive Producer of the project. That year, a teaser of the film was released and it went viral on social and mainstream media, launching the film and the orchestra to the spotlight. Executive Producer Belle Murphy and film director Graham Townsley joined by the end of 2012. Brad Allgood joined as editor in 2013. In 2014 the film production had been wrapped but had to be reopened due to major events that affected the kids of the Orchestra and their community. In 2014 Brad directed the third act of the film working closely with Alejandra and Juliana to keep the integrity of the story, as it had been conceived since the beginning. It took a total of 6 years to make Landfill Harmonic. 

The Filmmakers

Alejandra Amarilla – Founder, Executive Producer, Story Concept Creator 

For years Alejandra has supported social causes. In 2008 she travelled with Athletes for Africa to Uganda, to provide former child soldiers with education and therapy programs and cover basic necessities for families in displacement camps. She has also been a supporter of Women’s Global Empowerment Fund, whose mission is to reach underserved women through economic, social and political programs creating opportunities for them. She co-directed the short film “Unleashing Creativity” for Free Arts of Arizona, documenting the healing powers of creativity and the arts. The urge to raise awareness about children in underserved communities in her native Paraguay drove her to engage in the conceptualization and executive production of “Landfill Harmonic.”

 Juliana Penaranda-Loftus – Producer & Co-Director

Originally from Colombia, Juliana began her career working in television before moving to the U.S. to complete her Masters in film and video. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, she traveled to Afghanistan to shoot, direct and produce her first documentary on behalf of Aid Afghanistan, an organization advocating for women’s education. Since then Juliana produced ‘Suicide Trip,” “Wild 7,” and “Kalamity” for BP Entertainment. In 2009, Juliana established her own production company, Hidden Village Films, which focuses on socially relevant films. In 2012, she was one of eight women invited by the American Film Institute (AFI) to participate in their Directing Workshop for Women. She produced and co-directed “Landfill Harmonic,” released in 2016. The film was invited to over 300 film festivals worldwide and was licensed by HBO, Vimeo, Aljazeera and others international outlets. Juliana continues her freelance work while directing and producing her own films. Her new documentary “The Crossing,” pulls back the curtain on Venezuela’s escalating humanitarian crisis as it reaches a fever pitch.

 Brad Allgood – Director/Editor/Director of Photography 

Brad is an award-winning filmmaker with a background in international development and public health. His films have taken him into the heart of the Nicaraguan rainforest, as well as to remote Caribbean islands, the sparse Kalahari Desert and dense African jungles. While working for PBS Marketing and Communications, he produced national campaigns, including the Emmy Award-winning series Downton Abbey and the American Experience film Freedom Riders. Before transitioning to filmmaking, Brad served for 3 ½ years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. He holds a M.A. in Film and Video Production from American University and a B.S. in Biology and Geology from the University of Georgia.

 Graham Townsley – Director

Graham is an Emmy-nominated director of acclaimed documentaries for PBS, National Geographic and the Discovery channel, including “Becoming Human”, a 3-part series on human evolution for NOVA, “Dawn of the Maya”, “The Great Inca Rebellion”, “King Solomon’s Mines”, “Magic Mountain”, “Maya Apocalypse” and many more. He trained as an anthropologist and has a Ph.D from Cambridge University. He has worked in ethnographic films for the BBC such as “The Shaman and his Apprentice” based on his own fieldwork with a tribe of the Peruvian Amazon and “From the Heart of the World”, a film about the Kogi Indians of the Sierra Nevada of Colombia. He lives in Washington DC.

Rodolfo Madero – Executive Producer

Founder of Eureka Productions, established in 1993 in México. By the end of the 90‘s he established his production house in Phoenix, AZ. In 2004, Eureka Productions was featured in Adweek Magazine as one of the 30 most important production houses in the US. Rodolfo is a producer and co-producer for television and film, as well as a soundscore composer. He is an activist of social climate change. As a member of the POP (Protect our Planet) movement, a leading environmental organization worldwide, Rodolfo works with youth, governments, businesses and communities, to raise awareness on issues that affect our planet.

Belle Murphy – Executive Producer

Belle is an attorney who has dedicated her career to advocating for children and giving a voice to those unable to speak for themselves. She attended the University of Washington where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and earned her Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University. She spent seven years with the Maricopa County Attorney’s office as a prosecutor who specialized in domestic violence, child abuse and child homicide cases. Although Belle is no longer a prosecutor she continues her focus on child advocacy and improving the lives of children by contributing to projects such as “Landfill Harmonic.”

Jorge Maldonado – Co-producer

Jorge Maldonado is the Creative Director and co-founder of Hyperactive Productions, a Washington, DC based company specializing in video production, motion graphics, animation, visual effects and bilingual voice-overs. His television credits include Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, Travel Channel, PBS and The Smithsonian Channel. He has also worked on numerous projects for non-profit organizations such as Conservation International, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save The Children and The World Bank.

Neil Barrett – Director of Photography

Has worked on over 30 broadcast documentary films for National Geographic, BBC, PBS, Discovery, The History Channel, NBC, ABC and CNN. His films have been shown at the Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto, Fullframe, SilverDocs, Jackson Hole and Los Angeles Film Festivals.  Three of his feature documentaries—“The Woodmans” (2010), “The Other City” (2009), and “Kicking it” (2008)– have been released theatrically in the United States.

Michael A. Levine – Composer

Was the composer for the Jerry Bruckheimer/CBS dramas Cold Case and Close To Home for which he was awarded eight ASCAP awards as well as composer for the George Lucas-produced Star Wars: Detours animated SW parody. Michael also worked on a number of Hans Zimmer scores including The Simpsons Movie, Batman: Dark Knight, and Rango. He co-produced Lorde’s cover of Everybody Wants to Rule The World in Hunger Games Catching Fire, wrote the theme for Scrat the squirrel from Ice Age and the music for the classic Kit Kat Gimme A Break jingle. Michael’s concert music includes Divination by Mirrors for Saw and Strings and Concerto for Pedal Steel Guitar and Orchestra.