In this climate of escalating racial tensions, is the Ku Klux Klan primed for a comeback? According to the subjects of the investigative documentary Inside the Ku Klux Klan, events in Ferguson and Charlottesville have only stoked interest in the dreaded hate group. The filmmakers spent seven months infiltrating various factions of the KKK to determine whether this popularity surge is a reality or shallow propaganda.
In Missouri, the leader of the Traditional American Knights claims that his group fields hundreds of daily phone calls and tens of thousands of website hits from prospective new recruits. They actively target youth who are desperate to embrace a cause that gives focus to their disillusionment.
But the modern KKK has a public relations problem. Their sinister and bloodthirsty history saw membership rise to over 5 million members in the 1950s, and the savage lynching and massacre of hundreds of thousands of African Americans.
Current members still maintain the same central mission that has distinguished the KKK since its inception - to promote and ensure the purity and dominance of the white race, which they view as superior to every other race. But today's KKK is keen to distant themselves from their reputation as a hate group. They claim that the practice of violence is now merely a regrettable chapter of their past.
The film presents the Klan with a slice-of-life approach that doesn't praise or condemn. Viewers shouldn't require judgmental commentary to form an opinion on the events that unfold on screen; the subjects do their own damage as they attempt to explain their reasons for joining the group or their newfound (and unconvincing) aversion to violence.
We witness a young teen approach two members to enquire about joining the group, the distribution of recruitment leaflets in public squares, and entire families who gather together in meetings to celebrate and further the cause of white supremacy.
Inside the Ku Klux Klan also introduces us to members of the resistance, including those who have suffered under the tyranny of racially motivated violence and the warriors who vow to stop the rise of one of the most shameful organizations in American history.
Directed by: Daniel Vernon