‘The Vow’ Looks at the Complicated Truths Behind NXIVM’s Headlines (VIDEO)

HBO THE VOW PARTICIPANTS
Courtesy of HBO

With remarkable access to insiders and former members, The Vow follows a range of people who joined NXIVM, which eventually disintegrated with criminal charges brought against its highest members. The series takes a deep, nuanced look at the experiences of many of the group’s participants, spotlighting their universal desire for personal growth and their internal conflicts over events as they unfold.

The nine-part documentary directed by Emmy®-winning and Academy award nominated Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer debuts Sunday, August 23 on HBO.

NXIVM was founded in 1998 by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman. Within a few years, the company grew into an influential, international organization with thousands of members, including accomplished executives, Hollywood stars, wealthy heirs and the children of political dynasties.

HBO THE VOW MARK VICENTE SARAH EDMONDSON

Whistleblowers Mark Vicente & Sarah Edmondson

Amidst claims by NXIVM participants of both profound transformation and devastating abuse, the series reveals the complicated truths behind the sensational headlines. It explores the emotional toll of unfolding events on individuals who hoped to lead better lives and change the world with Raniere’s espoused humanitarian philosophy. The series illuminates how members were drawn to NXIVM’s ethical mission and promise.

The project was personal for Noujaim, who, in 2010, attended Executive Success Programs, NXIVM’s flagship seminar, and explored making a film about the experience. Over the years, she kept in touch with the people she’d met. In 2017, whispers of a controversial secret sorority emerged, and several high-ranking members defected. Noujaim and Amer began filming, not knowing where the story would lead. By 2019 Raniere was convicted of crimes including racketeering, sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, identity theft, and production and possession of child pornography. He awaits sentencing, which is expected this fall.

The Vow, Premieres, Sunday, August 23, 10/9c, HBO