2015 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE WOLFPACK

wolfpackToday’s profiles kick off with the final entry in the US Documentary Competition: Crystal Moselle’s THE WOLFPACK, about an isolated family whose only connection to the outside world is through movies.

Sundance Program Description:

Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed the Wolfpack, the brothers spend their childhood re-enacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. With no friends and living on welfare, they feed their curiosity, creativity, and imagination with film, which allows them to escape from their feelings of isolation and loneliness. Everything changes when one of the brothers escapes, and the power dynamics in the house are transformed. The Wolfpack must learn how to integrate into society without disbanding the brotherhood.

Armed with unprecedented access into the subjects’ world, as well as their vast archive of home movies, director Crystal Moselle crafts a captivating portrait of an extraordinary family and inquires into the true nature of identity and creativity. By fully immersing herself into their world, she allows their remarkable story to naturally unfold without judgment. THE WOLFPACK resonates with the audience as it portrays people raised on movies.

Some Background:
This project marks Crystal Moselle’s directorial debut as. Joining Izabella Tzenkova (LILY, Nantucket Film Festival) and her as producers are Sundance vets Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky (combined credits include I ORIGINS (2014), JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD (2014), IT FELT LIKE LOVE (2013), GUN (2013), TERRI (2011), ANOTHER EARTH (2011), BLUE VALENTINE (2010), MOMMA’S MAN (2008), HALF NELSON (2006), THE BALLAD OF RAMBLIN’ JACK (2000), and INTERN (2000)). Executive producers include Tyler Brodie (
(2013), IT FELT LIKE LOVE, ANOTHER EARTH, MOMMA’S MAN, and BALLAD, PI (1998)), Cameron Brodie (TERRI, BALLAD), David Cross (HITS (2014) director/producer, OBVIOUS CHILD (2014) actor), and artist Louise Ingalls Sturges. Finally, editor Enat Sidi has cut multiple past Sundance titles, including WEB JUNKIE (2014), DETROPIA (2012, US Documentary Editing award), and 12TH & DELAWARE (2010).

Why You Should Watch:
It’s immediately evident that Moselle and her team were able to foster a sensitive rapport with the Angulo family, making for an intimate exploration of a decidedly unorthodox upbringing without ever feeling exploitative or forcing an outsider perspective on the story. Theirs is the kind of compelling, stranger-than-fiction experience that is documented so rarely that it achieves an almost otherworldly quality, particularly as Moselle integrates elements from their inventively crude filmmaking efforts. Crucially and powerfully, however, she never loses sight of the real-world, emotional impact of the family’s enforced isolation.

More Info:
For more information, visit the film’s Facebook page. For Moselle’s thoughts on the film, check out her Sundance Meet the Artists profile and Indiewire filmmaker interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2015 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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