MESYM Crossover Documentary Series #1: Waste Land

The MESYM Crossover Documentary Series is held every last Sunday of each month @ Merdekarya. Everyone is invited to come watch the documentary, participate in the discussion, and meet like-minded people. Admission is free, just buy a drink!


Why “Crossover”? Economics, politics, capitalism, democracy, mass media, etc… all these topics (and many more) are directly or indirectly linked with the natural world that we live in. However, these interconnections are not always apparent. With the Crossover Series we show a documentary of a chosen topic in every event, and discuss its connection with environmental issues. Click here for more info in our Crossover Documentary Series.

For our first event, the crossover topic is The Arts. We will screen Waste Land, a social documentary based around the lives of garbage pickers in Rio de Janeiro, as Brazilian top-selling contemporary artist Vik Muniz creates art out of recycled materials.

About Waste Land

Waste Land is a feature documentary film that premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and went on to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. It won over 50 other film awards including the International Documentary Association’s Best Documentary Award, which was handed to director Lucy Walker inside a garbage bag.

Waste Land is the uplifting story of artist Vik Muniz who travels to the world’s largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho outside Rio de Janeiro, to collaborate with a lively group of catadores, or pickers of recyclable materials, who find a way to the most prestigious auction house in London via the surprising transformation of refuse into contemporary art. The catadores work in a co-operative founded and led by Sebastião Carlos Dos Santos, the ACAMJG, or Association of Pickers of Jardim Gramacho, who dreamed of improving life for his community. The money created by the selling of the artworks was given back to the catadores and the ACAMJG, as well as the prize money from the film awards, in order to help the catadores and their community.

The film received unanimously positive reviews as “an uplifting portrait of the power of art and the dignity of the human spirit.” It has been invited to screen at festivals and special events around the world, has won over 50 awards, such as on October 11, 2010, REACT to FILM screened Waste Land at the SoHo House in Manhattan, NY and moderated a Q&A with Waste Land director Lucy Walker and MOBY.

Waste Land movie

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