El Sistema – Saving Lives

by Yorgos Avgeropoulos

One afternoon in 1975, in a garage in Caracas, Venezuela, the then 36-year-old music professor and economist José Antonio Abreu began a crusade that seemed completely utopian. He wanted to save as many children as possible from poverty, the streets and criminality, by teaching them free of charge classical music and making them members of a classical Symphony Orchestra.

“There was nothing like the first rehearsal”, reminisces the 74-year old conductor today. “It is the moment I remember with the greatest passion. The rest was a great everyday thrill.”

Only 11 children came to that first rehearsal. But the seed had already been planted in the ground, giving birth to what would later become globally known as EL SISTEMA (The System). An education system and at the same time a weapon against poverty. A tool for social change. An attempt to change the world through music!

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About This Film

AVAILABLE VERSIONS: English (51min) | Greek (51min)

Written, Produced and Directed by Yorgos Avgeropoulos
Director of Photography: Vasilis Mourikis
Production Manager: Anastasia Skoubri
Research Coordinator: Georgia Anagnou
Research: Manolis Fylaktidis
Editing: Vasilis Magos, Anna Prokou
A Small Planet Production for Greek Public Television ΝΕΤ © 2011 – 2012

About the Director
Yorgos Avgeropoulos

Yorgos Avgeropoulos is a Greek documentary filmmaker and journalist known for the numerous social and political documentaries he has directed in more than 50 countries and which have won 40 awards in international film festivals as well as other distinctions all over the world.
He was born in Athens, Greece in 1971. He studied journalism and worked as a war correspondent in Sarajevo, Croatia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan whereas he also covered major events such as the Albanian Rebellion, the earthquakes in Turkey and the sinking of MS Estonia.
In 2000, he created the Exandas Documentary Series. Exandas documentaries are awarded in several international film festivals and broadcasted by dozens of networks worldwide. In Greece they were broadcasted by ALPHA TV until 2003 and then by Public Greek Television ERT until 2013, when the network was violently shut down by the Greek government.
Today Yorgos Avgeropoulos collaborates with international networks. His latest films, The Lost Signal of Democracy (2014) and AGORA – From Democracy to the Market (2015) were broadcasted by TV networks in Europe, the US, the Middle East, Asia and Australia and awarded in documentary film festivals in France, Germany and the USA.

Films of Yorgos Avgeropoulos