Waste Land

Waste Land

  • BY Lucy Walker | IN Arts & Culture
    Premiered April 19, 2011

About the Film

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 — or garbage pickers. The catadores are the ultimate marginalized population; unemployed in any traditional sense of the word, they resort to picking valuable recyclable materials from the garbage thrown away by those in Brazil more fortunate than themselves. But they display remarkably good spirits and camaraderie in the face of their lot in life, forming friendships and, in the case of the elderly Valter, declaring the crucial and meaningful role they play in remediating the results of the modern culture of overconsumption and careless disposal. Under the leadership of the young, charismatic picker Tião, they have even created a co-operative to pool their labor and resources to maximize their income. MORE

Vik Muniz, a Brazilian artist known for using unconventional materials to create portraits of marginalized people, set out to "paint" the catadores with the garbage they spent their days sorting through. But upon meeting the amazing characters who work at the landfill, he decides to turn the project into a collaboration with the catadores themselves. He photographs the pickers individually at the landfill itself, and then projects the images he’s captured onto the floor of a massive warehouse nearby. Then he works with the catadores to gather recyclable items from the dump and use these discarded things to recreate the images on the floor. In the end, vibrant, complex, and essentially human portraits emerge, revealing both dignity and despair as the catadores begin to re-imagine their lives.

Muniz doesn’t just talk about the transformative power of art, but puts it into action in Brazil. He decides that all proceeds from the photographs he creates of the finished pieces go back to the catadores, which they use to improve their living conditions, go to school, invest in the co-op, keep their trucks in working order, and even build a library. The pickers report that the project has helped lift some of the social stigma surrounding their profession, and the Brazilian government is now using the film to promote recycling nationwide.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land"


The Filmmaker

Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker uses dramatic filmmaking techniques to make documentary films, following memorable characters on transformative journeys that grant unique access inside closed worlds. In addition to Waste Land, Walker directed a second feature documentary that premiered at Sundance 2010 and was recently released in theaters: Countdown to Zero, a terrifying exposé of the current threat of nuclear terrorism and proliferation. Walker's previous films include Blindsight, and Devil's Playground, and she has directed for Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, for which she was twice nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Direction in a Children's Series.

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Film Credits

Director
Lucy Walker

Co-Directors
João Jardim
Karen Harley

Producers
Angus Aynsley
Hank Levine

Co-Producer
Peter Martin

Executive Producers
Fernando Meirelles
Miel de Botton Aynsley
Andrea Barata Ribeiro
Jackie de Botton

Music by
Moby

Editor
Pedro Kos

Director of Photography
Dudu Miranda

Co-Directors of Photography
Heloisa Passos
Aaron Phillips
Ernesto Herrmann

Location Sound Mixer
Aloysio Compasso
José Lozeiro

1st Assistant Director
Gabriela Weeks

Featuring

Vik Muniz
Fabio Ghivelder
Isis Rodrigues Garros
José Carlos da Silva Baia Lopes (Zumbi)
Sebastião Carlos dos Santos (Tiao)
Valter dos Santos
Leide Laurentina da Silva (Irmã)
Magna de França Santos
Suelem Pereira Dias

Brazil Unit

Line Producers
Andrea Armentano
Bianca Corona

Line Producer Assistant
Francisco Puech Leão

Production Coordinator
Cristina Abi

Production Coordinator Assistant
Rogério Jacyntho

Legal and Business Affairs
Carolina Moraes
Claudia Büschel

Lawyers
Gilberto Toscano
Helena Rocca

Financial Director
Esli Leal da Cruz

Financial Manager
Lia Pini

Research
Renée Castelo Branco

Research Assistant
Rafael Vargas

Production Manager
Karla Bastos
Mariana Cassa

Production Assistants
Giulia Setembrino
Luana Quaglia de Carvalho
Marcelo Dias
Paloma Marquez
Rô Borges
Wendell Piu

1st Camera Assistant
Amara Barroso
Fabio Villela Serfaty
Gustavo Pessoa
Kika Cunha
Pablo Hoffman
Pedro Faerstein

2nd Camera Assistant
Fernanda Brito
Luz Guerra

Loggers
Luiz Eduardo Richard Villela
Michelle Nobre Dias
Rafael Nunes
Vladimir Mancebo Carneiro

Electricians
Luiz Antônio Barreto Doria
Francis Ferreira de Souza
Lourival dos Santos

Key Grips
Edgar Mujica
Paulo Fernandes Miranda (Doquinha)

Jimmy Jib Technician
Leandro de Souza

Film Provided by
Kodak

Lab and Transfer
Casablanca

Archive Footage Clearances
Paulo Machline

UK Unit

Line Producer
Alex Moreno

Production and Post-Production Coordinator
Nour Wazzi

Legal and Business Affairs
Sophie Ollivier

Development Executive
Shirine Best

Additional Legal Services
Michael Simkins LLP
Bitelli Advogados
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp

Accountants
Malde & Co

Production Assistants
Sophia Morphew
Eleanor Emptage

Camera Operator
Rob Wilton

Steadycam Operator
Barny Davis

Camera Assistant
Bruno Martin

1st Camera Assistant
Geo Geraint

2nd Camera Assistant
Nick Pollazo

3rd Camera Assistant/Logger
Mark Yeshin

Logger (HVX200)
Jason Hall

Camera Grip
Nobby Roker

Location Sound Recordist
Ludovik Lasserre

U.S. Unit

Associate Producer
Emilia Mello

Production Manager
Mahyad Tousi

Production Assistant
Faz Kashani

Camera Assistant
Hyla Scopitz

Location Sound Recordist
Mahyad Tousi

Post Production

Post Production Supervisor
Tiago Arakilian

Post Production Consultant
Titânio Produções

Post Production Assistants
Maicon Barcellos
Raissa Albuquerque

Licensed Footage
Paulo Machline

Assistant Editors
Flávia Gonçalves
Fabian Remy
Samy Waitzberg

Re-Recording Mixers
Samuel Lehmer
Gary Alexander

Sound Editor
Patrick O’Sullivan

Post Sound Manager
Michael Sable

Post Sound Services
Indie Sound

Re-Recording Facility
Lotus Post

Titles by
PanOptic

Image Post Production
Estudios Mega

Digital to Film Transfer
Alpha Cine Labs, Seattle

Artwork

Andy Warhol
Nine Multicolored Marylins andThe Scream
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London 2010

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Untitled
© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London 2010

Picasso
Woman ironing (1904)
© Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2010

Damien Hirst
Pharmacy (1992) and Superstition
© Damien Hirst/DACS 2010

Gavin Turk
Tip n°2
© Gavin Turk
Courtesy of Riflemaker

Franz Gertsch
Patti Smith IV
© Franz Gertsch

Footage from Programma do Jô and Sambódromo provided by TV Globo

Music

"Isolate"
Written and Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Little Idiot Music
Published by Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

"Not Sensitive"
Written and Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Mute Records Ltd and Steel Synch
Published by Warner Chappell

"Aerial"
Written and Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Mute Records Ltd and Steel Synch
Published by Warner Chappell

"JLTF"
Written and Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Little Idiot Music
Published by Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

"Shot in the Back of the Head"
Written and Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Little Idiot Music
Published by Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd

"Swear"
Written and Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Mute Records Ltd and Steel Synch
Published by Warner Chappell

"Overland"
Written and Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Mute Records Ltd and Steel Synch
Published by Warner Chappell

"Beautiful"
Written and Performed by Moby
Moby appears courtesy of Mute Records Ltd.
Published by Warner Chappell

"Flutesque"
Written and Performed by We
Courtesy of the Agriculture

“Taphead"
Written and Performed by Stars of the Lid
Courtesy of Kranky Ltd.

"Music for the Twin Peaks Episode"
Written and Performed by Stars of the Lid
Courtesy of Kranky Ltd.

"Do Verde de Coari vem meu gás Sapucaí!"
Written by Arlindo Cruz, Mingau, Emerson Dias, Maurição, Carlos Sena, and Edu Da Penha
Courtesy of Editora Musical Escola De Samba LTDA

Funding Provided by
Eletrobras
Brasil Cap
Brasil Veiculos
Ancine
Lei de Incentivo a Cultura

Waste Land was produced by Almega Projects and 02 Cinema LTDA, who are solely responsible for its content.

©2010 Almega Projects and O2 Cinema LTDA. All rights reserved.

Much of Vik Muniz’s art involves collaboration with — and financial benefit to — his subjects, who are often poor and disenfranchised. Do you believe art should serve its subjects? Should Leonardo da Vinci have shared profits with, for example, the mysterious Mona Lisa?

AWARDS

  • 2011 Academy Award Nomination
    Best Documentary Feature
  • 2010 Sundance Film Festival
    World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary
  • 2010 IDA Pare Larentz Award
  • 2010 IDA Best Documentary Award
Please review our comment guidelines.
Much of Vik Muniz’s art involves collaboration with — and financial benefit to — his subjects, who are often poor and disenfranchised. Do you believe art should serve its subjects? Should Leonardo da Vinci have shared profits with, for example, the mysterious Mona Lisa?