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'Burden' Tells The True Story Of A KKK Grand Dragon That Turned His Life Away From Hate

By Jodi Smith | Industry | June 18, 2019 |

By Jodi Smith | Industry | June 18, 2019 |


101 Studios launched earlier this year and has snatched up the film Burden, written and directed by Andrew Heckler. Starring Garrett Hedlund as Mike Burden, the film won audience awards at the 2018 Sundance and Nantucket Film Festivals before distributors began wheeling and dealing for its rights.

In an introduction to the film in 2018, Heckler talked about the long journey from hearing about Burden’s story more than 20 years ago to the premiere of the film on the festival circuit. Heckler took the time to visit South Carolina and speak with Mike, Judy, and Reverend David Kennedy before writing the screenplay of what would become Burden.

What exactly is Burden’s story? Well, he was a member of the Klu Klux Klan, making his way up to the status of Grand Dragon under the tutelage of Klan leader Tom Griffin (Tom Wilkinson). In 1996, Burden opened the Redneck Shop and KKK Museum in the town square of Laurens, South Carolina. Then he fell in love with single mother Judy (Andrea Riseborough) and she made him choose between his cult of hatred or a life with her. After choosing to leave the KKK, Burden sought the help of civil rights activist and Baptist Reverend David Kennedy (Forest Whitaker) to help him turn his life around.

Burden also features Tess Harper, Crystal Fox, and Usher. Chris Stapleton, a five-time Grammy award winner, is releasing a title track for the movie as well.




The film hits theaters in a limited release November 1, 2019, with more locations and theaters added as the month continues.

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Jodi Smith is a Senior Reporter, Film & Television at Pajiba. You can email her or follow her on Twitter.

Header Image Source: 101 Studios