Oscar-nominated documentarians Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) penetrate the insular world of New York’s Hasidic community, focusing on three individuals driven to break away despite threats of retaliation.

TIFF Docs

One of Us

Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady

One of Us plays like a documentary thriller about individuals trying to escape a closed society. New York's Hasidim are one of the most insular communities in North America. Haunted by the Holocaust's decimation, they live by strict codes that discourage contact with outsiders. We meet three people who are driven to break away despite threats of retaliation. Etty was forced into marriage at age 19, birthed seven children by age 29, and recounts a history of spousal abuse. Luzer, in his late twenties, broke ties with his family in order to pursue his dreams as an actor. Eighteen-year-old Ari suffers from the trauma of sexual abuse and wants to explore a different way of life.

Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady captured these lives for over a year of twists and turns. Cinematographers Alex Takats and Jenni Morello vary between close-up intimacy and long-lens surveillance to manoeuvre in neighbourhoods where cameras and outsiders are met with suspicion. Composer Todd Griffin supplies a haunting score.

While rooted in a specific community, One of Us explores a universal theme: the value of individuality versus belonging to a group. What does it mean to separate oneself from everything that's familiar? These stories have much to teach about courage, resilience, and claiming one's own identity.

THOM POWERS

Sun 10

Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
9:00pm
Mon 11

Scotiabank 7

Press
9:00am
Tue 12

Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
12:30pm
Fri 15

Scotiabank 11

Press
9:00am
Fri 15

Scotiabank 14

Regular
12:15pm
Sun 17

Scotiabank 4

Regular
11:45am