Lucy Walker: Waste Land

It has been around for one and a half year, it has won awards all over at festivals, several audience awards, it was nominated for an Oscar this year, it has been released theatrically in many countries (for our Danish readers: it is still in cinemas here), in other words in terms of distribution a documentary success story.

And it does deserve the huge attention it has got. It is a film with a lot of respect and love for its protagonists, the poor garbage pickers in Brazil, it has a warm, lovely main character, the artist Vik Muniz, and it has a narrative that gets you involved: you see the process of Muniz going back from his New York fashionable life to his native country Brazil, to the favelas and the garbage hills, you see him and his staff, first of all Fabio, go to cast the people, they want to take pictures of, you see the transformation of the photos through the re-use of garbage, into beautiful portraits that is sold for big money, that is given back to the ACAMJG, the association of Recycling Pickers of Jardim Gramacho, where most of the pickers, the catadores, are registered, and which works for better working conditions and educational inititives for the workers. Most important, however, is that the director manages to establish an emotional link to the characters, who stand out as human beings with dignity, and whose reactions to the artistic experiment is registered with a lot of care.

The website below gives a lot of information on what happened wfter the release of the film, you can give a contribution to the ACAMJG, you can buy a dvd through Amazon, you can see examples of the art works. Photo: Vik Muniz.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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