The Birth of a Nation 4

The biggest success story at this year’s Sundance Film Festival — or any festival in history, if we’re talking about the acquisition price — was certainly Nate Parker‘s writing-directing debut The Birth of a Nation. Picked up by Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5 million, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner tells the true story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion. We’ve still got half-a-year to go before it arrives in theaters, but today Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer.

I said in my review, “Directed, written, produced by, and starring Nate Parker, the Nat Turner biopic The Birth of a Nation is an unflinching and hopeful call to action where the helmer’s passion can be felt in every frame. By nodding to D. W. Griffith’s controversial, formally groundbreaking 1915 film, Parker is forging a new cinematic history for one of America’s most shameful eras. What’s lacking in aesthetic cohesion, pacing, and subtlety is made up for in a powerful lead performance and an essential story with compelling religious undercurrents.”

Starring Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Boone Jr., Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Gabrielle Union, check out the trailer below.

Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

The Birth of a Nation opens on October 7th.

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