Carretera Cartonera: Discover the World of Cartonera Publishers

(Carretera cartonera)
Marta Mancusi, Anna Trento | Documentary

2016 | 37 minutes | Italy

Carretera Cartonera travel across Latin America to understand Cartonera book production. What they find is a diverse and vast array of citizens and cooperatives committed to using literary production as a means of fighting for social justice, economic equality, and a more sustainable world.


Carretera Cartonera: Discover the World of Cartonera Publishers chronicles the road trip of the filmmakers as they travel across Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile) to understand Cartonera book production. What they find is a diverse and vast array of citizens and cooperatives committed to using literary production as a means of fighting for social justice, economic equality, and a more sustainable world.

Cartonera publishers (editoriales cartoneras) are proponents of the salvage economy. They handcraft their books out of recycled materials, often bought straight from Cartoneros, people who make their living by collecting cardboard and selling it to recycling plants. This method not only allows unknown authors to be published but also supports environmental sustainability and thedemocratization of literature by involving the help of Cartoneros in the production process and making the books available to people at prices significantly lower than those of conventional publishing houses.

The books are composed of photocopies bounded by hand into cardboard covers. Each cover is hand embellished, making every copy a beautiful unique artistic and literary object.

The phenomenon of Cartonera publishers began in Argentina in 2003 as a response to the country’s economic crisis. It has, since then, expanded to the Americas, Africa, and Europe.


"A fascinating subject that touches multiple bases at once: socioeconomic struggles, publishing, entrepreneurship, contemporary Latin American society, and sustainable business practices. Highly recommended." — P. Hall, Video Librarian

Main credits

Mancusi, Marta (filmmaker)
Trento, Anna (filmmaker)

Other credits

Music, Pillow.

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Euganea Film Festival
Antartica International Film Festival of Environment and Sustainability
Festival of Political Cinema by Women
Detour Film Festival
Sembrando Cine Film Festival
12 Months Film Festival

DIRECTOR: Marta Mancusi, Anna Trento


YEAR: 2016

GENRE: Documentary

LANGUAGE: Spanish; Portuguese

COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adults



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