Actor, writer and director Nate Parker has made a lasting impression with his film The Birth of a Nation when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week. The film, directed and written by Parker, stars him as Nat Turner, an enslaved African who leads a rebellion in Virginia in 1831.
“I made this film for one reason – in the hope of creating change agents,” said Parker during the film’s Q&A. “You can watch this film and see there are systems that were in place that were corrupt and corrupted people. And the legacy of that still lives with us.”
There have been rumors that a film with this subject matter would not be a hit or find an audience but Parker proved the Hollywood bigwigs wrong.
"No one wants to see a film about Nat Turner" they said.
Birth of a Nation sold for $17.5 million at Sundance!https://t.co/TFLgmcyqsI
— Echoing Ida (@EchoingIda) January 26, 2016
The film received such instant praise that distributors such as Netflix, The Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight and Sony had a 16-hour bidding war over it. Fox Searchlight, the same company that brought 2013’s 12 Years A Slave, purchased The Birth of a Nation in a $17.5 million deal. According to Variety, it’s the richest deal in Sundance history. In fact, Fox Searchlight has made big deals before. Back in 2013, the distributor purchased the film The Way, Way Back for $9.75 million which was regarded as the richest deal at that time, reports Variety.
As of this moment, details about The Birth of a Nation’s theatrical release have not been announced. In the meantime, take a look at a featurette and panel discussion with director Nate Parker:
Source: YouTube/ Sundance
Source: YouTube/ Deadline