Working on the French poster of #bymyside / #amilado. Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the film!

Working on the French poster of #bymyside / #amilado. Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the film!

With Odalys Molina on the set of Telemundo’s Acceso Total right after the interview to discuss A Mi Lado (By My Side) and the Havana Film Festival.

With Odalys Molina on the set of Telemundo’s Acceso Total right after the interview to discuss A Mi Lado (By My Side) and the Havana Film Festival.

With journalist Alfonso Diaz in the studio of NTN 24 channel in New York talking about By My Side (A Mi Lado).

With journalist Alfonso Diaz in the studio of NTN 24 channel in New York talking about By My Side (A Mi Lado).

Working on the promotion of @bymysidefilm in my favorite cafe in Brooklyn. See you on April 13th at 9:15 pm at the Quad Cinema in New York.

Working on the promotion of @bymysidefilm in my favorite cafe in Brooklyn. See you on April 13th at 9:15 pm at the Quad Cinema in New York.

Just received the beautiful program of the Havana Film Festival. Don’t miss the screening of @bymysidefilm on Saturday April 13th at 9:15 pm at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan!

Just received the beautiful program of the Havana Film Festival. Don’t miss the screening of @bymysidefilm on Saturday April 13th at 9:15 pm at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan!

Houses for sale in the Chureca

Waste pickers from the Chureca had been waiting for a new house for months. They could see it being built near the site, where they are scavenging every day. A woman apparently tried to take advantage of this hope for a new home. More than 30 people told police earlier this month that they were victims of a scam. Nelly del Socorro Canales Fornos told them she was selling homes in the new housing complex in the Chureca. These people apparently paid between 300 and 500 dollars. According to a story published earlier this month in La Prensa, the woman admitted to the police her guilt in this scam. She supposedly told her victims that she was working for the company building the houses for 258 families of the Chureca and that some of the houses were for sale.

Some people living in the Chureca are afraid to be expelled from their house according to a story in El Nuevo Diario. These people are not scheduled to receive a new house because they apparently did not live in the Chureca when the census was done for the new houses. Dominga’s sister, Fatima, recently received her new home after living for years inside the Chureca.

Unfulfilled promises

Fatima, Dominga’s sister, recently received a new house in the new housing development in the Chureca. These houses were built to relocate the Churequeros. Authorities have also been building a new recycling plant to give the waste pickers a new job. El Nuevo Diario recently reported that some people of the Chureca have been left behind. They say they have not received a home nor a job. Despite living most of her life in the Chureca, doña Isabel has not been offered a house, because she did not live inside the perimeter of the dump anymore. Her son and daughter keep working in the Chureca. Same thing for Maryuri’s family, who lives outside the Chureca and who did not receive a house. The challenges in the Chureca remain huge. The last time we saw Alba Rosa, Maryuri’s mother, she was suffering from an eye infection.

Recycling the Chureca

Last Friday, I was in Trenton, NJ. It is technically a world away from the Chureca. But when I stepped into the offices of TerraCycle and when I met Tom Szaky, the young CEO of the company, I thought about the Churequeros a lot. Tom Szaky recycles all he can think of. It goes from used diapers to cans and to cigarette butts. He also recycles plastic bottles and everything that is worth something in the Chureca as well. But he goes one step further. With his team, he thinks about a way to reinvent garbage and recycle it into a new product. For instance, cigarette butts are turned into ashtrays among other things. He keeps talking about outsmarting waste: “Instead of the product being the driver, garbage is the driver”.

TerraCycle collects 100 different kind of waste and helps to create 1500 new products with the material it recycles. The way it works is clever: TerraCycle asks people to join one of its brigades collecting one specific kind of waste. People, who join and collect waste, get points when they send it and can convert their points into cash to support a non-profit or a school of their choice.   In countries like Brazil and Mexico, Terracycle also works with cooperatives, which pay the waste pickers. I told Tom Szaky about the Chureca. Hopefully the Trenton-based company will get there as there is a lot to recycle in the Chureca. If you are interested in joining one of the collection brigades, you can go to TerraCycle’s website.

This is an important story as it ran in a magazine published in the Swiss town the director of By My Side [A Mi Lado] was born. 

This is an important story as it ran in a magazine published in the Swiss town the director of By My Side [A Mi Lado] was born. 

Updated poster

Here is the poster of By My Side [A Mi Lado] designed by Fabio Cutro and updated festival selections and awards. We hope 2013 will be even better than 2012 for the film. Thank you all for your support!