Escape from Luanda


A year in the life of Angola’s only music school in one of the world’s poorest and most dangerous places.

SKU: SEV149.

A war-ravaged past – a new hope for the future…

A year in the life of Angola’s only music school, situated in Luanda, the capital of Angola, and one of the world’s poorest and most dangerous places.

“A tender, inspiring portrait” – Radio Times

In Luanda, one of the world’s poorest and most dangerous places, three students from Angola’s only music school work towards their end-of-year concert.  The Music School is Angola’s first and only school of its kind. It houses some 80 students, most of them desperately poor. Many face disapproval and outright rejection from their families who can’t see a future in music. This film asks if, despite the ravages of 27 years of civil war, musical passion can overcome terrible hardships.

Joana, one of the students, brightly comments, ‘art is life!’ She and the other students know this only too well, as music seems to be the only thing that really drives them. To each of the students, music seems to offer a new life, a hope for a new future, or simply offers them a dream of what could be.

Each of the students paint heartbreaking images of their own experiences of the civil war, and it’s difficult to imagine how they can continue with everyday life. But they do, with music as their focus.

WINNER – Certificate of Merit Chicago Hugo Awards 2008
WINNER – Silver Award of Excellence Park City Film Music Festival 2008

1 x 72′

Enjoyable and absorbing to watch, Escape from Luanda gives precious insight into the everyday struggles that Angolans face Phil Grabsky’s films always tell you far, far more than you see on the screen.” – MovieScope magazine and Shootingpeople.

this is a fascinating docusoap. But Grabsky excels at capturing the atmosphere of a place. This is the proper Africa and not the sensationalised version that Hollywood has portrayed in recent years.” – Oxford Times

engaging” – The Times

“a tender, inspiring portrait of three war-weary musicians – with a very funky soundtrack” – Radio Times

through its stillness and powerful subject matter, Escape from Luanda offers a moving…illustration of three individuals seeking (and finding) solace in art and each other.” – Time Out

emotive” – Mail on Sunday

tender” – Observer

quietly moving” – Sunday Times

Filmed and Directed by: Phil Grabsky

Co-filmed by: David Notman-Watt