Experiencing Interruptions?

The Garden of Hope

30 minutes away from Copacabana, Jardim Gramacho, a true ecological wound, used to be South America's largest open air landfill. Before shutting down, families of the workers belonging to the community lived precariously but fittingly by hand-picking garbage. As a promise of a better tomorrow, the closing was supposed to give them a new life away from the dump. Socially excluded and forgotten, they still have their own lives beyond the waste accumulated over the past 40 years. Without resources, without jobs, living from day to day, their lives are worse than ever. Dignity is their last wall against misery today. The camera gives them a stand where their voices can be heard. They recall the closing down, when trash was their bread job. Starting today, the present and future belongs to the children. Few of them, one by one, fitted with professional cameras, will reveal their pictures, their reality, their joy of living, and their hopes.

  • Laurence Guenoun
  • Laurence Guenoun
  • Laurence Guenoun
  • Benoit Trivulce
  • Nikola Chapelle
    Crew Team
    Sound Designer
  • Florian Lejeune
    Crew Team
  • David Dargaud
    Crew Team
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Social, environmental, education, political
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 14 minutes 34 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 2, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • ALL LIGHTS INDIA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2015 - Cochin (Official Selection)
  • Filmambiante Festival
    RIo de Janeiro
    August 28, 2015
    Public Choice Award & Special Mention of the Jury
  • PLANETADOC Film Festival 2015 - Florianopolis, Brasil (Competition)
    Florianopolis, Brasil
  • The Impact DOCS Awards
    La Jolla
    Award of Merit
  • Richmond International Film Festival
    Richmond, USA
  • Sydney World Film Festival 2016
    Sydney, Australia
  • Martinique International Film Festival 2016
  • Los Angeles Urban Film Festival
    LA, USA
  • FIFE 2016
  • LIFF - Lyon International Film Festival
    Lyon, France
    Nominated Best Documentary Feature
  • Venice Film Week
    Venice, Italie
  • Direct Short and Documentary Film Festival
    Marbella, Spain
  • Nice International Film Festival South of France
    Nice, France
  • Madrid International Film Festival
  • Brazil International Film Festival
    May 28, 2016
  • Star Doc Film Festival (Documentary Films)
    Los Angeles
    United States
    April 8, 2016
  • Wolves Independent Film Awards
  • Voiceless International Film Festival
    san francisco
    United States
    September 11, 2016
  • Planet in Focus
    Toronto - Ontario
    September 18, 2016
  • Los Angeles Lift Off Film Festival Online
    Los Angeles
    United States
    September 9, 2016
  • Sunrise Film Festival
    Nova Scotia
    October 8, 2016
  • Montreal Cine Fest
    August 29, 2016
  • Awareness Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    October 6, 2016
    Merit Award
Director Biography - Laurence Guenoun

Laurence Guenoun was born in 1969, in Paris, France.
She has spent the majority of her career shooting photography and video
campaigns in France, Brazil and New York. In addition to shooting her own work
in which she has had multiple successful exhibitions and sold work.
As a photographer, her work is very diversified, concentrating mostly on
reportages, portraits, advertising and fashion. All of this is linked by her main goal
: the encounter. Only the natural encounter matters and leads to the simplest
For the last 3 years, she has been directing videos, shorts and films. In May
2013, she began a series of short film’s called “Let Me Tell You a Story”. They
follow a character or series of characters through an emotional turning point in
their lives. She has written and directed 14 of them in total.
In 2014 she shot her first narrative film with American actor Gary Douglas Kohn.
The story takes place in Brazil when two heart broken internet friends who’ve
never met spend the weekend together. The film is now in post-production.
After that she directed the documentary "O Jardim da Esperança" (The Garden
of Hope) to embrace the cause of the catadores (pickers of the former biggest
landfill of South America). A human project willing to point the finger at political,
social, and environmental problems of that emerging country.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I have been going to Jardim de Gramacho during a year and a half. What was in the beginning a professional assignment has become a voluntary choice, the same choice I did in 2011, after the Haiti earthquake. We have this reflex of trying to offer solutions, and I learned to fight this. I now prefer observing, soaking up what I see and putting the daily lives of ordinary people into perspective. The camera then confers dignity; it lets them express their struggle and pride. At the end of the day, they are as much the director as I am.

An adult point of view is mixed with the look of a handful of children who play at being photographers, as they explore and play out their own Jardim de Gramacho.
Give them a camera, teach them how to use it, follow them as they roam their community and let them reveal their reality, their tenderness, and their hopes through photography. Then put together a touring exhibition of their images in order to valorize them through their artistic creation.
In a country such as Brazil, which is wealthy, I ask myself this question: how can an entire community be left to itself this way? 2 years after closing the Jardim de Gramacho landfill, the community has been left without any viable solutions. Little training has been offered to help former “Catadores” (pickers) find a decent job, and hardly anyone has been compensated for losing their job, although such compensation was promised…
Many families, often quite large, are now broken, the children being sent away to other family members for lack of space and resources at home. Houses have no running water or sanitation. Drinking water is available only 4 days per week in the main street. Families the store water in large plastic tanks in front of the house, often in direct sunlight. The water used for washing clothes and doing dishes is drawn straight from the ground, beneath the accumulated garbage, and is totally unfit for consumption.
Did we shut off their hopes by closing the landfill? It's them I want to talk about, they are the one who want to express themselves to make us understand that the landfill land can be a garden, an unhealthy garden but a garden from which some future might come to the surface.
Yours, Laurence Guenoun