Netflix is partnering with the Oscar-nominated team behind “Jesus Camp” on “One of Us,” a look inside the world of Hasidic Judaism, Variety has learned. The picture is co-directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady and will launch in the streaming service this fall. There will be an awards push.
Ewing and Grady spent three years making the picture, shooting in vérité style as they tracked the lives of three individuals. “One of Us” chronicles their decision to leave the insular ultra-Orthodox community. Their move into the secular world comes at a cost, straining their relationships with their family members and — in one case — threatening their personal safety. Like “Jesus Camp,” which examined one faction of the evangelical Christian community, “One of Us” is another deep dive into a lesser-known form of religious practice.
“Ten years after making ‘Jesus Camp’ we return to another fascinating world anchored in belief and belonging,” the filmmakers said in a joint statement. “Our main subjects may be leaving the intense strictures of the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, but they’re also grappling with a universal human dilemma: that the cost of freedom can also mean losing the only community they’ve ever known.”
Ewing and Grady recently directed “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You,” an acclaimed look at the “All in the Family” creator that was the opening night selection of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Last fall, the film premiered on PBS American Masters. The pair also collaborated on “Detropia,” a 2012 documentary about Detroit’s economic slide and the challenges facing the car industry.
Netflix has been an aggressive player in the documentary space in recent years. The streaming service has picked up Oscar nominations for non-fiction fare such as “The Square,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” and “13th.” The company won its first Academy Award this year in the Best Documentary Short category for “The White Helmets,” the story of volunteer rescue workers in Syria.