Waste Land

Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim

Heartwarming documentary about waste and the power of art. Renowned artist Vik Muniz joins forces with a half dozen trash pickers at the world’s largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho in Rio de Janeiro.

Successful Brooklyn-based artist Vik Muniz, who uses natural materials for his portraits, returns to Rio de Janeiro, the city where he was born, in order to start a waste project. Muniz, who worked his way up from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, recognizes both the desperate situation in which the catadores find themselves, and their hopeful attitude towards life. His purpose is to give them a share in his success. Muniz sets out to make a series of large-scale portraits, created with waste, for which an eclectic group of catadores serves as models and co-creators. Muniz achieves what few contemporary artists achieve: he transforms their lives. As they transform the collected waste into art, these discarded people restore their self-esteem. But what will become of them when the artist has left? 


Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim
Angus Aynsley, Hank Levine
Country of production
Brazil, United Kingdom
98 minutes
Spoken language
English, Portuguese
Production company
Almega Projects
World Sales
E1 Entertainment International
Dutch distributor
September Film Distribution