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Director Rachel Dretzin on Far from the Tree, Family and the Value of Difference

Rachel Dretzin. Photo © Meredith Zinner Photography.

Rachel Dretzin © Meredith Zinner Photography.

We spent a great deal of time getting to know our subjects before we ever turned the cameras on and, once we began filming, we were in and out of their lives for the better part of two years. Trust was built in some cases more quickly than in others, but I can safely say that a deep trust was built with all the families we filmed. The film couldn’t have been made otherwise.

We shot a lot of intimate vérité footage for this and were surprised to see the extent to which it could stand on its own. It felt important that we lead with those observational scenes, that we let that material breathe without mediation from interviews or narration and added the interviews as needed. Andrew’s interviews were crucial in helping stitch together the various family stories. It was an organic (and long) process to find the balance we ultimately struck between interview and vérité.

(To read the full interview, please visit Studio Daily.)