The Duggars have made headlines thanks to their family’s scandals and unconventional beliefs, but on the East Side of New York City, a family of nine have lived with little contact with the outside world for nearly a decade. Now the children are speaking out about their isolated upbringing and the movies that saved their lives in a 20/20 special.
The Angulo family is proof there is power in art. Subjects of a documentary called The Wolfpack and a 20/20 special airing Friday, June 19 at 10/9c on ABC, the Angulo family includes seven children (six boys, and one girl who has cognitive disabilities) who were kept secluded in their New York City apartment by their father throughout their childhood. The family of nine lived in the apartment for nearly a decade, and their existence was a secret even to their closest neighbors. Homeschooled by their mother and secluded from the outside world by their father, the brothers — Mukunda, Bhagavan, Govinda, Narayana, Krsna and Jagadisa — turned to their father’s expansive movie collection as a means of escape.
Together, the children would reenact scenes from movies like Pulp Fiction and Batman. They wrote scripts, made props and constructed scenery. Movies were their window into the outside world, and ultimately a catalyst to their freedom. “I think, in a way, movies, they shaped us who we are,” one of the sons, Govinda Angulo told 20/20.
While the tale is eerily reminiscent of Flowers in the Attic, it has a much happier ending. As the children grew into young adults, their father could no longer force them to live by his rules and they began going out into the world regularly. Now that they are the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary, their lives have opened up even more. The brothers have taken flights and traveled the country. These days, they see movies in theaters rather than in their lonely apartment.
The rationale behind their father’s extreme decision had nothing to do with a need to hide the children, and everything to do with his own paranoia about socializing with the world. The 20/20 special will explore the family’s situation in-depth and introduce the world to the boys who are the subjects of director Crystal Moselle’s The Wolfpack.
The Angulo’s story is deeply heartbreaking, but also a testament to endurance and a deeper look at the world of six film lovers. The 20/20 special will serve as the perfect primer for viewers who are curious about the lives of the brothers, and for those who simply cannot wait for the film to hit theaters June 19. Check out the trailer for The Wolfpack below.