In BURNING SANDS, Zurich (Trevor Jackson) is a new student at Frederick Douglas University who is trying to survive as a fraternity pledge during "Hell Week." "Hell Week" is a time when fraternity pledges are made to endure a plethora of humiliations from fraternity brothers -- if Zurich can make it through "Hell Week," he will be a member of one of the most prestigious fraternities on campus, with access to beautiful girls, wild parties, and a supportive community with a rich history in the African-American community. But unlike traditional manifestations of "Hell Week," the physical and verbal abuse these pledges must endure looks less like a traditional rite-of-passage and more like excessive bullying, even culminating in Zurich sustaining a broken rib. As he tries to get through "Hell Week" while also balancing the demands of academia and his girlfriend, Zurich begins to doubt the beat-downs and humiliations he and the other pledges undergo, and begins to see the behavior of the fraternity brothers and those around him as a contrast to the ideals espoused by both the person the university was named for, as well as the ideals from the fraternity guidebook that they are made to memorize and frequently shout. Zurich contemplates breaking the "code of silence" that rules over what goes on, as the pledges turn against each other and go against their own moral codes, but when he finally does talk to university authorities, he realizes that they only see the traditions and are oblivious to how bad the hazing has gotten. Only one of Zurich's professors (Alfre Woodard) sees Zurich's innate leadership qualities, and has faith that he can summon the courage to somehow put a stop to what's happening and bring the fraternity system more in line with the ideals they espouse.
Starring Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Steve Harris
Director Gerard McMurray