Filmmaking partners Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady are the winners of the 2017 Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence, which recognizes a mid-career filmmaker distinguished for observational cinema. They will share a $5,000 cash prize sponsored by Drew Associates. The award will be presented at the Visionaries Tribute Award Luncheon at the DOC NYC Festival on November 9, 2017.
Ewing and Grady’s latest film One of Us, about three Hasidic Jews who are seeking to move out of their insular community, screens at DOC NYC as part of this year’s Short List. Their previous films include Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Detropia, 12th & Delaware, Jesus Camp, and The Boys of Baraka.
The award’s name celebrates Drew Associates’ Founder Robert Drew and his wife Anne, who was his filmmaking partner for more than four decades. The three previous recipients were Dawn Porter, Kim Longinotto and Laura Poitras.
“Every time I see a Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady documentary I learn something profound about the human experience,” saidJill Drew, the general manager of Drew Associates, who helped select the recipients. “Their ability to go deep into cultures that are oftentimes portrayed as caricatures goes to the heart of why observational documentary is so powerful and important, especially now. They don’t tell us what to think; they show us what it’s like.”