Growing up in a family "shrouded in secrecy," she believes, may also explain her turn to documentary filmmaking. For several years, she volunteered at Community Television Network, where she learned interviewing and production techniques. After taking early retirement from U-M six years ago, she enrolled in filmmaking classes at Washtenaw Community College, where she found herself, she says, "mostly working with eighteen-year-old boys who like to make films about cars, guns, and vampires." The film she began to make as a student was of a different nature: an hour-long documentary on retired U-M professor Irene Butter, who as a young girl survived the horrors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Neuhaus had met Butter about forty years ago, when Butter was a U-M professor of public health and Neuhaus was a graduate student. And they share a deeper connection: Neuhaus's Jewish parents fled Nazi Germany. Neuhaus began filming Butter's talks to schoolchildren about her German family's exile in the Netherlands and later imprisonment in Belsen. By the time the camp was liberated, Butter, fourteen, weighed just seventy-nine pounds.