History Maker: 19-Year Old Director Phillip Youmans Talks the Black Church, 'Burning Cane' and Trusting His Vision [Tribeca Interview]
In 19-year-old Phillip Youmans’ feature film debut, Burning Cane, the filmmaker showcases how individual choices can ricochet off of other people, derailing everyone's lives.
Set in rural Louisiana in the late-‘90s, Burning Cane opens amid the burning season, when the sugar cane is set ablaze so that it’s easier to harvest. Burning Cane is a poetic narrative that follows Helen (Karen Kaia Livers), a concerned mother who is desperately trying to navigate her relationship with her unemployed, alcoholic adult son, Daniel (Dominique McClellan), and her recently widowed pastor, Revered Tillman (Wendell Pierce). Like Daniel, Rev. Tillman is also seeking to find solace in the bottle. Though Helen deeply empathizes with both men, when their actions begin to suffocate her and her grandson, she decides she has to take drastic action.
Burning Cane had its debut during the Tribeca Film Festival, making Youmans the youngest direct to ever have a feature film in the festival. At Tribeca, Shadow And Act sat down to chat with Youmans about writing Burning Cane, bringing it to life and what it means to be a fearless storyteller.
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