One of Us
explores the world of Hasidic Judaism, as filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady follow the lives of brave individuals who make the decision to leave the insular ultra-orthodox community.
"Ewing and Grady had long felt compelled by the Hasidic communities in and around New York City,"
, "though they suspected that they wouldn’t be able to gain access, just by virtue of the very element that lured them: all that secrecy."
"You're just curious and you want to know," Ewing tells Erbland. "But we never thought to make a film about the community, because we're two secular women and they hate cameras. We were never like, 'Let's try that!' because we don't like to set ourselves up for failure. I mean, there's a reason why it hasn’t been done.” To read the full interview,
"Ewing and Grady followed their subjects for about three years," explains
, "gaining the trust that was necessary for such intimate and ultimately powerful access to their struggles. They found some of their subjects through the underground organization Footsteps [there's one in New York and one in Israel] that helps Hasidic Jews who want to leave the community. After winning its trust, the filmmakers were granted access to Footsteps meetings and members who gave their consent." To read the full article,
"Their subjects are often partly obscured by shadows or visible only in the blurry reflection of a subway window, a fitting approach for a film about a group of people hiding in plain sight — conspicuous and yet somewhat ethereal," says
. To read the full article,
"As filmmakers, we had to come up with a visual motif, and as the film is very voyeuristic, it was a style we adopted from the very beginning," Ewing tells
. "This is a community that doesn't want to be photographed and doesn’t want to be in the media. They despise cameras and we weren't welcome there, to waltz in and film everything around us. And so we adopted a voyeuristic style with 'dirty foregrounds.'" To read the full article,
One of Us
: How Netflix Documentarians Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady Penetrated Hasidic Brooklyn
"We have always been drawn to stories that put the nature/nurture debate into stark relief," the co-directors explain. "Are some of us just born with an unshakable need to question the status quo, despite the consequences? The three main subjects of
One of Us
are jumping head first into the unknown.
"Their rocky journey from insular Hasidic Brooklyn out into the secular world – with its emphasis on radical individualism – is fraught with both doubt and exhilaration.
"These three brave people are bucking the exacting rules of their ultra-orthodox community to experience the world for the first time as true individuals. Their journey is a profoundly human one that took us by surprise."
Directors Are Back With Searing New Documentary
One of Us