‘Burning Cane’ Trailer: Rising Star Philip Youmans’ Debut Film Explores Faith And Toxic Masculinity In The Deep South

At just 19 years of age, New Orleans director Philip Youmans is already one of the hottest young filmmakers around. While he was still in high school his directorial debut, the southern drama Burning Cane, took Tribeca by storm, winning Best Narrative Feature, Best Cinematography and Best Actor for Wendell Pierce. But it’s Youmans who is turning heads, becoming the first African-American director to win the festival’s Founders Award and the youngest to have a movie selected for competition. As you might expect, distributors came calling. Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing picked the film up and after a brief theatrical run it will hit Netflix in November.

In the first trailer for Burning Cane you can see the influence of Terrence Malick on Youmans’ style, which is interesting to see in a southern drama about an African-American community in rural Alabama where the church’s influence weighs quite heavy. The film doesn’t boast a lot of big names other than The Wire‘s Wendell Pierce who plays a troubled preacher, and exec-producer Benh Zeitlin best known for his indie hit Beasts of the Southern Wild, who has been a supporter of Youmans since the beginning.

BURNING CANE tells the story of a deeply religious woman’s (Karen Kaia Livers) struggle to reconcile her convictions of faith with the love she has for her alcoholic son (Dominique McClellan) and a troubled preacher (Wendell Pierce). Set in rural Louisiana, the film explores the relationships within a southern black protestant community, examining the roots of toxic masculinity, how manhood is defined and the dichotomous role of religion and faith.

Burning Cane opens in NY and select theaters on October 25th, followed by Netflix on November 6th.