El Sistema

Paul Smaczny, Maria Stodtmeier

Germany, Music Documentary, 2009
102 min, HDV, Color
Spanish with English subtitles


Venezuela's unique system of music education takes children from violent slums and turns some of them into world-class musicians. El Sistema shows how Venezuelan visionary Jose Antonio Abreu has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children over the past three decades. This lyrical and moving documentary takes us from the rubbish dumps and barrios of Caracas to the world's finest concert halls. Children from streets dominated by the gun battles of gang warfare are taken into music schools, given access to music, and taught through the model of the symphony orchestra how to build a better society. Paul Smaczny and Maria Stodtmeier's film finds hope and joy in unlikely places.


Regional Premiere



Paul Smaczny studied law, French and German literature, film and theatre arts in Regensburg, Hamburg, and Paris. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he began working as an assistant director and dramaturge for various productions in France. Since 1989 he has been active as a film producer, director and screenwriter. Maria Stodtmeier studied cultural work in Potsdam and Budapest. She has produced various international music and literature projects, and since 2006 she has been active as a film producer.


Producer: Paul Smaczny
Production Companies: EuroArts Music International
Cinematographer: Michael Boomers
Editor: Steffen Herrmann
Sound Design: Toine Mertens, Andreas Köppen

el sistema


Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC)

Mon. April 26  5:00PM