First-time director Crystal Moselle is a self-described “movie obsessive,” but nothing could prepare her for the reality she encountered upon meeting the Angulo family. The six Angulo brothers aren’t just cinephiles; movies are their only world. Indefinitely locked inside a Manhattan apartment, the teens turned to movies to teach them about life. In “The Wolfpack,” Moselle trains the camera on the boys as they begin to break out of their insular world.
What’s your film about, in 140 characters or less?
The film follows six teenage brothers raised in Manhattan, totally cut off from society, with movies being their only window to the world.
Now, what’s it REALLY about?
It’s about the relationships in a family and how they deal with these extraordinary circumstances. These kids are so charismatic and talented and have created these unique interpretations of the world, before they were able to experience the world firsthand. They show us how the human spirit copes and transforms, and how movies can be a savior. As viewers, we get to live the special experience of seeing them “before” and “after.”
Tell us briefly about yourself.
I live in New York City. I have been directing short-form films for the past decade or so. I mainly work on an intuitive level…. I am fascinated by the things that stop you in your tracks, but you don’t know why. I’m passionate about capturing characters that are interesting to me and understanding them on a deeper level.
What was the biggest challenge in completing this film?
Since I was dealing with real life, I had to learn to let go of what I thought the film should be and instead let the footage show us the way. Finding the heart of this story was a challenge, but once that happened, everything came together. Also, working with six teenage boys? Not always easy.
What do you want audiences at Sundance to take away from your film?
I believe everything is relatable and connected. These boys are the most resourceful human beings I have ever come across. I want Sundance audiences to get lost in their world — the one we found making the film. Maybe it will inspire people to think about their own lives, families and relationships. And maybe it will help them learn to be more resourceful, to create their own art.
Are there any films that inspired you?
I love movies obsessively. So many films have inspired me in my life. The movie “Crumb” made me interested in documentaries at a young age. “Heart of Darkness” was inspiring because it made me realize that even the greatest directors suffer for their art. When I watch Harmony Korine’s films, they remind me that we can make anything happen — we don’t have to conform. I love “Strange Days.” I love all coming-of-age films.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently developing a narrative script. I’m open to doing another doc, but nothing has moved me yet.
What cameras did you shoot on?
We shot on the C100, 7D and 5D.
Did you crowdfund?
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. Click here for more profiles.