Meet The Women Behind The Wolfpack, The Documentary Everyone's Talking About

Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Five years ago, filmmaker Crystal Moselle encountered the Angulo brothers on the street in New York. Their long hair and Reservoir Dogs-style outfits caught her attention, and she knew she had to talk to them. Here's what she learned: The father of the six brothers and their sister had forced his children and wife to stay inside their apartment on the Lower East Side for most of their lives — about 15 years. Moselle asked if she could make a documentary about their unusual situation. They said yes.

She recruited a team of women to help her, including producers Megan Delaney and Izabella Tzenkova, and editor Enat Sidi (Jesus Camp). "The whole process of the film was very organic," Moselle says in a recent interview with Refinery29. To have so many women behind the camera, almost functioned as activism, given the grim statistics. A study revealed that in 2013 and 2014, women made up just 27% of producers, writers, directors, and editors in the TV and movie industry. Things haven't gotten much better in 2015, which is another reason why this film is so important.

The Wolfpack focuses on the Angulo brothers, but, there's an equally riveting story line about their mother, Susanne, who, according to Moselle, hadn't interacted with any other women for about 20 years. So when Moselle and her crew entered the family's home, everything changed. "We were the first women to come into her life and to actually be a sounding board for many different things," says Moselle, who describes her relationship with Susanne as "beautiful."

In the documentary, Susanne reveals that her husband put certain restrictions on her while the children were growing up, but she's now taking control of her life. "She’s speaking to her mother now again," Moselle says. "I think it was inspiring for her and for their sister to have some females in the house she could relate to."

"We weren’t telling her what to do or how to feel," Delaney adds. "We were there to listen to her during a really important time in her life when she had been separated from women for so long."
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Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
For Moselle, working with an all-female team allowed for a new creative headspace. "It definitely got wild," she says. "We’re a bunch of headstrong women, that’s for sure. When we believe something, we believe it to the core."

When asked what advice they'd give women who aspire to be filmmakers, Moselle and Delaney have a lot to offer. "Don’t let anything hold you back," Moselle says. "Once you find that passion in a story you want to tell, just go for it."

"There are other people out there who want to help you," Delaney adds. "Women are very supportive of each other. There’s not a lot of competition or challenging each other."
Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
As for how they feel about the warm reception The Wolfpack has received, Moselle is obviously thrilled. "I never felt passion like this before, for anything, as much as this story," she says.

For Delaney, it all comes down to a lesson she learned from one of the brothers. "Mukunda [Angulo] talks about how we all have fear," she says. "I think about that all the time, whenever I’m about to jump into something new or scary or different." Working with the Angulo family, and watching them change their lives, has helped her overcome her own anxieties and self-doubt. "If these kids don’t have any fear, and if their mother, who was basically kept against her will in this situation for so long, can override her fear at this point in her life, I really don’t have an excuse. I have to just go for it myself."


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