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Refuge directed by Erin Bernhardt and Din Blankenship
Refuge directed by Erin Bernhardt and Din Blankenship

Refuge, a powerful and inspiring new documentary film about fear and love in the American South from executive producer Katie Couric will World Premiere at the 2021 DOC NYC film festival. Directed by Erin Bernhardt and Din Blankenship, the film profiles a leader in a white nationalist hate group who finds healing from the people he once hated – a Muslim heart doctor and his town of refugees.

Chris Buckley is a father, veteran, and a former leader of the KKK living in rural Georgia. Following concern from his wife, Buckley receives help from an extremist group interventionist. Despite his renunciation of the KKK, Buckley retains a deep prejudice against Muslims, stemming largely from the 9/11 attacks and his experiences in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chris’ long-held beliefs are challenged when Dr. Heval Kelli, a cardiologist and Kurdish refugee living in the resettlement community of Clarkston, GA, reaches out to him. Dr. Kelli believes that he must do what he can to quell the rising, hateful rhetoric of white nationalism that threatens his diverse community of refugees who have fled persecution and violence for a better life in America. He takes it upon himself to try to understand Chris and others like him. An unlikely relationship develops.

Will Chris overcome his hate? Will Dr. Kelli find what he is seeking? What’s possible when we are willing to face hate with humanity?

Watch the teaser trailer for Refuge.

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