See the award-winning Sundance film and read the book inspired by our powerful true story. BURDEN stars Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, Garret Hedlund, Andrea Riseborough, Crystal Fox, and Usher Raymond IV.
When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a small South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker) resolves to do everything in his power to prevent long-simmering racial tensions from boiling over. But the members of Kennedy’s congregation are shocked to discover that his plan includes sheltering Mike Burden, a Klansman whose relationships with both a single-mother and a high-school friend force him to re-examine his long-held beliefs. After Kennedy helps Mike leave behind his violent past, the Baptist preacher finds himself on a collision course with manipulative KKK leader Tom Griffin. In the face of grave threats to himself and his family, the resolute Kennedy bravely pursues a path toward peace, setting aside his own misgivings in the hopes of healing his wounded community.
BURDEN is the winner of the 2018 Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival and was written and directed by first-time filmmaker Andrew Heckler. The film's cast additionally includes Tess Harper, Crystal Fox, and Usher.
In 1996, the town of Laurens, South Carolina, was thrust into the spotlight when a white supremacist named Michael Burden opened a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan in the community’s main square. Journalists and protestors flooded the town, and hate groups rallied to the establishment’s defense, dredging up the long history of racism and injustice.
What came next is the subject of the film BURDEN, which won the 2018 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. Shortly after his museum opened, Burden abruptly left the Klan in search of a better life. Broke and homeless, he was taken in by Reverend David Kennedy, an African American leader in the Laurens community, who plunged his church, friends, and family into an inspiring quest to save their former enemy.
In this spellbinding Southern epic, journalist Courtney Hargrave further uncovers the complex events behind the story told in Andrew Heckler’s film. Hargrave explores the choices that led to Kennedy and Burden’s friendship, the social factors that drive young men to join hate groups, and the difference one person can make in confronting America’s oldest sin.
Available on Amazon.