It’s always exciting when a filmmaker who is accomplished in one avenue takes a chance on a new venture, especially when that leap entails an unplanned switch from documentary to narrative. Prolific documentarian Heidi Ewing has long been known for her collaborations with Rachel Grady, including the Oscar-nominated 2006 film “Jesus Camp” and “One of Us,” a devastating portrait of ex-Hasidim which made waves when it premiered on Netflix in 2017. A master of non-fiction storytelling, it’s only fitting that Ewing would stumble into making her narrative debut while originally making a documentary.
Based on the true love story of two of Ewing’s friends, “I Carry You With Me” follows two men who fall in love as they navigate the dangerous move from Mexico to the U.S. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to warm reviews, where it was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. The recently released first trailer below promises a moving romance against a timely backdrop.
The film will play this weekend at the New York Film Festival, which summarized it thus: “‘I Carry You With Me’ (‘Te llevo conmigo’) charts the burgeoning romance between Iván (Armando Espitia), a semi-closeted young father and restaurant worker, and Gerardo (Christian Vázquez), a high school teacher who has come to terms more fully with his sexuality. When Iván makes the decision to leave Mexico and find new life and work opportunities across the U.S. border, the two men must make difficult decisions about their future.”
Ewing filmed her friends over many years, even as it became increasingly clear the project would not work as a traditional documentary. She eventually pieced together a script from their stories, merging scenes of the real men with the actors playing their younger selves. “I did not adhere religiously,” Ewing said during an interview out of Sundance. “But I stayed pretty closely to what they had told me over the years. I invented moments and scenes. The most pivotal narrative scenes that advance the story all adhere closely to what they experienced.”
Sony Pictures Classics will release “I Carry You With Me” on January 8. Check out the moving first trailer below: