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Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing Acquires Phillip Youmans’ Tribeca Award-Winning ‘Burning Cane’

Array Releasing has picked up distribution rights to Phillip Youmans‘ award-winning drama, “Burning Cane.” The film world premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in April and took home the prizes for Best Narrative Feature, Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative and Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative for Wendell Pierce.

Reported exclusively by Deadline, the company, founded by filmmaker Ava DuVernay in 2010, looks to release the film sometime in the fall. Youmans writes, directs and shoots the film himself for his directorial feature debut. The 19-year-old filmmaker has made short films in the past, including “Ivory,” “My Sweet Boy” and “Nairobi.”


Youmans’ latest marks the New Orleans filmmaker as the youngest director to ever have their film featured in-competition at Tribeca. His film is also the first from an African American director to win the festival’s Founders Award. The official synopsis for “Burning Cane” reads: Amongst the cane fields of rural Louisiana, an aging mother struggles between her religious convictions and the love of her son.

From the Deadline article:

“Through his exceptional film, Phillip Youmans has cemented himself as one to watch, one to cheer for, one to be proud of. He takes the complicated relationship between faith and addiction and delivers a nuanced glimpse with truly unforgettable characters,” said ARRAY President Tilane Jones. “Everyone at ARRAY fell in love with this beautiful film and this dynamic filmmaker. We’re delighted to share Phillip’s talent while showcasing Burning Cane as our 24th acquisition.”

ARRAY was founded by DuVernay in 2010 and is an independent distribution and resource collective that aims to elevate the voices of people of color and women filmmakers globally. Their previous acquisitions include “Ashes and Ember,” “25 to Life,” “Vanishing Pearls,” “Mississippi Damned” and “The Burial of Kojo,” which saw a Netflix distribution earlier this year.

On top of ARRAY releasing the film at a to-be-determined date, “Burning Cane” is set to screen at the BFI London Film Festival October 11.

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Written by Jessica Peña

Jessica Peña studied journalism at Volunteer State Community College before she began writing about film on a personal blog that sprouted from an electronic media course. She is now a film journalist for Awards Circuit, as well as a content editor and writer for the UK-based site JumpCut Online. She also loves the Child's Play/Chucky franchise with no end in sight.

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