EFM: Forest Whitaker Stars as Reverend of Black Congregation Who Take in KKK Runaway in 'Burden'
Photo Credit: S & A

EFM: Forest Whitaker Stars as Reverend of Black Congregation Who Take in KKK Runaway in 'Burden'

Still from "Two Men In Town" (2014) with Forest Whitaker
Still from “Two Men In Town” (2014) with Forest Whitaker

The European Film Market (EFM; where international film buyers and sellers meet), which takes place in conjunction with the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), kicked off today, February 9th, and runs through the 17th. Browsing through the catalog of films that will be presented to buyers at the market, in search of titles that fit this blog’s specific stated interests, on the short list is a drama titled “Burden,” which Forest Whitaker and Garrett Hedlund are attached to star in. Also Tom Wilkinson, Tess Harper and Usher Raymond IV.

Written and directed by Andrew Heckler and based on a true story, the film follows Mike Burden (Hedlund), an orphan raised within the Ku Klux Klan, who attempts to break away from the Klan when the girl he falls in love with urges him to leave for a better life together. When the Klan seeks Mike out for vengeance, a black congregation led by the benevolent, Reverend Kennedy (Whitaker), takes in Mike, his girlfriend and her son, protecting them, and accepting them into their community, in hopes of teaching Mike about love and acceptance.

No word on what role Usher plays, but Whitaker’s Reverend Kennedy’s family also includes Dexter Darden (who’s appeared in the “Maze Runner” movies) and Crystal R. Fox (a veteran character actress who currently stars in OWN’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” series). Usher’s character’s name is listed as Clarence Brooks, but no breakdown of how he connects to the narrative; he’s likely a member of Reverend Kennedy’s congregation.

“Burden” is finally in production, with filming underway, after over a decade in development.

Robbie Brenner is producing for production house The Firm, and founder Jeff Kwatinetz is executive producing along with Gabby Revilla and Kevin McKeon.

WME and Good Universe are repping the film at the EFM, which kicks off today in Berlin.

No ETA at this time, but with filming in motion, a late 2017 premiere (likely on the international film festival circuit, like Toronto) is possible.

No marketing materials to look at yet.

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