On my way to a visit to Cuba this past August, I stopped in Dominican Republic to capture an update of the buzos as a last possible hurrah to finish the film. On my first day I tried to enter the dump but got stopped by a troop of armed guards. A few phone calls later, a friend got me permission to enter, but it was clear I wouldn’t have any kind of the same freedom I had had years prior to move around (see picture below where I ham it up with the guards).

On my last night in the community, I did a private screening of our work in progress for only the characters involved in the film. The only place we could find where we wouldn’t attract a large crowd was a shut-up boarded pitch-black empty house someone had recently vacated, and it had no electricity. We brought in a candle, a little wooden stool to prop up my computer, and everyone sat on the concrete floor to watch. At first they called out the people they saw on screen, “Look it’s Ramon! Pablo! Arisleyda!” They laughed. But then they grew serious. At the end, I asked them, “Did I represent you fairly? Is anything exaggerated or mis-stated? Is this the real story?” It’s the moment of truth for a filmmaker when you hold up a mirror of your work to the participants of your film. I had chewed off all my nails during the screening, nervous about what they would say.

They looked at me and said, “No. You showed us as we are. This is the reality. Our reality.”

Sometimes films take a long journey. Having started this film in 2007, I cannot believe I am in 2012, nearly 5 years later, and the film still isn’t hasn’t gone through all the finishing needed. It is an expedition however that has taught me much in the way of filmmaking, approach, process, mistakes, lessons. It also taught me the meaning of magic.


Successful Campaign! Thank You!

Thanks to each and everyone for your support. I feel totally invincible to finish this film!

This immediate infusion is going to cover a lot of what I need done Right Now to be able to get to the Next Steps.

Because of your support, tomorrow I’m going to New York for a professional story consultancy session as one of my first very important steps to finish the rough cut!

Meanwhile, an important note: I need each and every backer’s address so I can send a little something-something to you. Even if you selected “no reward” please email me your address at

A second important note: if you are inspired by this campaign and would like to start your own, PLEASE EMAIL ME OR CALL ME FIRST so I can walk you through the pros and cons of doing a Kickstarter or other Crowdfunding campaign. It is not as easy as it seems on several levels! Let me help you get to know some of the ropes. I have some issues with Kickstarter and although I’m very grateful to have achieved this position, it’s something to be aware of.

Much love to everyone, and I’ll keep updating you on the progress that you helped create! I attached some pictures: The first is of Chivito, one of the child characters of the film, taking a picture of me taking a picture of him with a disposable camera he found in the dump. The second picture features some of the most adorable neighborhood kids that routinely all work in the dump with their parents…

More to come soon!

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Dear Friends,

We have raised, fantastically, up to $10,136 for my film “Somos Buzos.” See description below. We need $15,000 total, so we’re missing $4864. Kickstarter will not take a cent out of your account, nor give me one cent, if I do not reach my goal. Seriously. Help me make some magic in the next two hours.

Please, lets do one FINAL push in the next two hours. Please send, email, share, this link to anyone who might be sympathetic, want a cool reward, would like to learn filmmaking, free DVDs, a trip to the Dominican Republic and more. Thank you SO MUCH.


Thank you to EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU to donated, shared, posted, linked, talked, you are absolutely amazing.


and then click on the green button on the right called  “BACK THIS PROJECT” and enter your information.

SOMOS BUZOS is a documentary about a community of people who live, breathe, eat, and die out of the trash in Cienfuegos, Santiago, Dominican Republic. It follows one buzo (their term for trash diver) who taught himself how to read and write at the age of 20 and considers the education for his kids as their way out. The last stages of production are very expensive and I just don’t have the funds or resources to cover what it takes. This started grass-roots and will end grass-roots. I’m determined to get the story of the buzos out there effectively and loudly. They deserve it the world over.



*DAY 7* of KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN $1090… behind the scenes time

Kids were crawling over me all the time when I was shooting… I just tried to incorporate them after a while otherwise I just couldn’t work. I realized after a while that incorprating them in this way was involving them in the process. I was letting them “inside” my camera and letting them own a part of the picture… a camera can be a powerful gun you aim at people unless you let them in behind it. Anyways, there is a caveat to doing that… kids touch everything. So I did have to balance letting them near me and keeping them engaged in front of the camera away from me.

Isabelle with AlbaIris

*DAY 5* 100 Fires: Living from a Landfill KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

We got $945 so far!

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the backers so far on the project. We’ve reached almost $1000 and counting.


Thank you so much for forwarding onto friends and family and whatever outreach you’ve been able to give me beyond your direct contributions which mean the world to me (and more so, to the buzos).

Abrazos de mi corazon


*DAY 1* 100 Fires: Living from a Landfill KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

Short of it: New Trailer and a Kickstarter Campaign. CHECK IT:


Sequence 1

Life is raw. Imagine that you can’t read or write. The only job you can find is picking through other people’s garbage. Your life depends on what you find: whether it’s plastic bottles or cans, old shoes, or salami covered in flies. Along the way you get infected from hospital needles, burned by trash that’s caught fire, cut from shards of metal, and poisoned with constant diarrhea from rotten food. You even find amputated arms and legs. You continue because everything you come across has the potential for pennies, and you build your dollar a day piece by piece.

100 Fires: Living From a Landfill is a feature length documentary about the smoking dump that crouches outside the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic. The film follows the buzos, or trash divers, who support themselves solely off what they can scavenge from the dump. They build their houses out of trash, feed their children with rotten food, and make less than a dollar a day by finding and selling piles of metal, plastic, cardboard, and anything else people will buy. We want to give voices to this community; ignored by their own government, invisible to society, and threatened by the toxic dump upon which they rely for survival.

What we need:
Filming for 100 Fires is complete. We now need your help for post-production. Funds will be used for offline/online editing, coloring, and sound composing, engineering, and mixing. We will also use the funds for DVD graphic art, DVD printing, and film festival submission fees.