The Mudge Boy

Director: Michael Burke
Screenwriters: Michael Burke


A thoughtful and evocative journey, The Mudge Boy combines the powers of observance and understatement to render an emotional tale of a father and son navigating the complex waters of life after losing the one person who bound them together.

When Duncan's mother passes away suddenly from a heart attack, he seeks refuge in his pet chicken and his mother's old clothes. His distant father doesn't understand the strange manifestations of his son's mourning. Nor do the locals, who mock and harass him with cries of "Chicken Boy." Slowly a bond begins to develop between Duncan and Perry, one of his tormentors with troubles of his own. Duncan's world takes a destructive turn when the lines between friendship and love become blurred.

Against the lush, green backdrop of rural farm life, a touching warmth emanates from Emile Hirsch's performance as Duncan, lending depth and vulnerability to the character. A finely etched and sublimely eloquent character study, The Mudge Boy is a modern American fable about growing up different in an often-cruel world.

Michael Burke's Fishbelly White won a Special Jury Prize at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, and The Mudge Boy is that rare film that touches the viewer with its humanity and the splendor of its craft.

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]