In his freshman year of college, it seems Zurich has everything going for him; he has the respect of his teachers and university administration, the love and devotion of a wonderful girlfriend, and he’s been selected for admission to a prestigious black fraternity on campus. But as Zurich embarks on the Hell Week of pledging his fraternity, the harsh trials of entry into brotherhood begin to test the limits of his self-worth. As the intensifying abuse begins to become untenable, Zurich struggles to honor the fraternity’s code of silence, and the scaffolding of his life outside the frat begins to dismantle.
Gerrard McMurray’s Burning Sands constructs a deeply complex cross section of the fabled fraternity hazing culture and the vicious power of the desire for acceptance. McMurray’s grounded filmmaking builds a textured world populated with an exceptional young cast, resulting in a deeply profound exploration of being a young black man in America.