Magnolia Pictures landed worldwide rights for the much-buzzed documentary discovery of Sundance, “The Wolfpack.” First-time filmmaker Crystal Moselle spotted some compelling teenagers on the street in Manhattan and after engaging them in conversation, eventually followed the brothers home to their Lower East Side apartment and over four years, tracked their rather unusual upbringing for a documentary.
“The Wolfpack” is an emotional, claustrophobic encounter with the Angulo Brothers, who spent their childhood crammed in a New York Housing Authority apartment under the lock and key of their tyrannical, paranoid father. It’s also an inquiry into how we’re defined by the media we consume–the six brothers recount being raised on thousands of movies, which became their only way to understand the outside world. (See their take on Robert De Niro, below.)
The family had no outside acquaintances and the kids never left their home. Instead, they acted out their own recreations of what they saw on the tube with elaborate homemade props and costumes. But after one brother escapes the apartment sporting a Michael Meyers mask, the power dynamics in the house change and all the boys look to get out. The film’s punchline was in part given away as the boys attended the Sundance Film Festival, roaming the streets of Park City.
The film was produced by Moselle, Kotva Fims’ Izabella Tzenkova, Verisimilitude’s Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky and Associate Producers Megan Delaney and Trace Henderson. Enat Sidi was the editor. Music was composed by Saunder Juriaans and Danny Bensi with Aska Matsumiya. David Cross, Tyler Brodie, Louise Ingalls Sturges and Cameron Brodie served as Executive producers.
Magnolia has done well by many docs over the years, including Roger Ebert documentary “Life Itself,” winner of the PGA and Critics’ Choice Awards. Coming up is the well-received Sundance entry from Oscar-winner Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon, “Best of Enemies,” about Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley as well as Sean Baker’s funny iPhone feature “Tangerine,” which also played well at Sundance.