Egyptian director Jehaine Noujaim's latest documentary series, 'The Vow', follows an American self-improvement group called NXIVM that hides a nefarious sex cult within. HBO has recently renewed it for a second season.
Having previously filmed 'The Square' and 'The Great Hack', award-winning Egyptian director Jehaine Noujaim is no stranger to controversy. Alongside filmmaker Karim Amer, their latest project has already shocked viewers throughout the United States with their deep dive into a dangerous American cult. With eight episodes already out on HBO, 'The Vow' follows members into a self-proclaimed self-improvement group called NXIVM - whose leader was recently convicted of racketeering conspiracy and sex trafficking. Like Pandora's Box, his conviction led to the unveiling of a slew of criminal activity, exposing the group's manipulations of their members and the formation of what many in the media called a sex cult.
“We were following the story long before there was any news element. It started as a very personal story," Noujaim said. The documentary series follows a handful of NXIVM members as they delve into the inner workings of the group. Among them is Mark Vicente, who Noujaim was personally acquainted with. "Mark was somebody I had known for 10 years at that time and had always believed very much in the organization and the ethical mission of the organization was all of a sudden talking in a very different way, questioning everything that he believed, and it was very much a crisis of faith.”
The series looks at how Mark, alongside fellow former members Sarah Edmondson and Bonnie Piesse, handle this crisis as they become more aware of the true nature of the group, long before the arrests, and long before it had become a topic of national news. It also follows actor Catherine Oxenberg, who tries to rescue her daughter India from NXIVM in later episodes.
The ninth and final episode of season 1 airs on October 18th. HBO has already renewed the series for a second season.