On New York’s packed subways, violations of personal space are unavoidable—an inevitability that emboldens more predatory behavior. Underground brings these stories into the light.
Grappling with poverty, crime, and more, in Venezuela’s Las Brisas district, families’ hopes for the children hang on the escape found in a local youth orchestra.
After graduating from the National Film & Television School in the U.K., Marianela wrote and directed fiction short films and was a screenwriter for animation and fiction projects, among them Peter and the Wolf and The Magic Piano. As a documentarian, she co-wrote Once Upon A Time in Venezuela and directed Children of Las Brisas.
In Venezuela’s Las Brisas neighborhood, the power of music is put to the test. Poverty, murder, and corruption leave the community’s families with few ways to create a brighter future. Their best local hope: a youth orchestra founded in 1975 known as El Sistema that offers children the opportunity to pursue a life of art in spite of the harshness of the society around them.
Nine-year-old Dissandra’s grandmother signs her up for the orchestra in the hope it will provide a healthy outlet for her granddaughter’s sorrow after she loses two sisters. Another grandmother coaxes a resistant Edixon to join as a scheme to keep him off of the very streets where his father was gunned down. In El Sistema, the young people meet the concertino Wuilly, a passionate musician who after abandoning life in a religious cult as a teenager taught himself to play the violin via YouTube videos. Together, their aspirations align, propelling the group to some success—even a venture to perform at the world-renowned Festival of Classical Music in Salzburg. Yet Venezuela’s spiraling collapse threatens the musicians’ dreams of a better life—can music save them?