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'The Wolfpack' brothers spent their lives locked up watching movies — now they want to make them

by Cameron Kell | The Frame

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Krsna, Jagadisa, Bhagavan, Mukunda, Narayana, and Govinda Angulo in 'The Wolfpack' Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

After filmmaker Crystal Moselle met the Angulo brothers on a rare trip outside their apartment, they slowly became friends, and over a five year period she made the award-winning documentary "The Wolfpack."

In the movie, you see how these six brothers are obsessed with cinema, because movies were their only contact with the outside world. But they wouldn’t just watch the films — they’d re-enact them with elaborately constructed homemade versions of “The Dark Knight” and “Reservoir Dogs.”

Now the six boys are no longer being held hostag inside their family’s apartment. In fact, they’ve been flying around the country, promoting the documentary. 

When Mukunda and Bhagavan Angulo came by "The Frame "studios, we asked them if the documentary had changed the way they viewed their childhoods, as well as what they planned to do with their passion for movies.

Interview Highlights:

Is there any moment in any day when you look at each other when you're wandering around Hollywood and you say to yourselves, "How did we get here? Is this all a dream?"

Bhagavan: It's funny, I was thinking about that a couple of days ago. It was more towards, like, "Wow, we've come a really long way." We started as younger people in the Lower East Side in Manhattan — we'd just met Crystal, she was teaching us cameras in Washington Square Park and telling us how to write a story.

And in that moment, you would never think that you would be sitting in a chair talking on the radio in Hollywood, Los Angeles, basically where the birth of all film was. Just in the past five years, it's been a long process but it's been really great, too.

What has been the most indelible or profound thing that you can recall somebody who has seen this movie coming up to you and sharing?

Mukunda: I'm glad you mention that, because there was one audience member that came up to me, and she told me how strong we all are and how we got a lot of love from our mother, and she could see that. [She also told us] to never give up and keep going, keep turning the wheel of life, because a lot of people start, how they say, from nothing.

For example, people might say, "I started from cleaning toilets in a restaurant." But she said, "You guys start really below that, from actual nothing, and here you are. I feel like you're going to give the entire world hope, that they can start from below the bottom and go way over the top."

You guys are clearly very interested in movies. How do you want to take that interest and broaden it? What do you hope to do as filmmakers now?

Mukunda: Our main goal altogether is feature films. We're starting our own production company called Wolfpack Pictures, but we're going to be doing short films, music videos, commercials, whatnot, and feature films someday — probably here in L.A.

Our main hope is to achieve the magic old movies had. Today, you can tell that cinema has lost its touch — all the magic is going into TV now, with shows like "True Detective," "House of Cards," "The Walking Dead," "Breaking Bad"... it goes on and on.

A lot of people would look at this film and say that you and your four brothers are survivors, that you went through an extremely unusual ordeal. Maybe that's judgmental on their parts, but a lot of people would say that. Do you think that the resilience that you've shown as kids will be a benefit to your ability to make it as filmmakers?

Mukunda: Without a doubt, because when you're a child, you go through a lot. As brothers, we've always held our imagination as the high hand of our world, and I feel like if we can get through that, we can definitely get through everything else in the world — as well as business in filmmaking. [laughs]

"The Wolfpack" opens in theaters Friday.

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