Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” made a big splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Not only did it take home the grand jury prize and the audience award for American dramatic features, but it also received rave reviews from critics across the board.
Fox Searchlight bought the distribution rights for the film for a whopping $17.5 million–a Sundance record. So there wasn’t any doubt at all that the studio would push the film as an awards contender for 2017.
It’s been announced that “The Birth of a Nation” will open nationwide in theaters on Friday, October 17, 2016, just in time for awards season. I was at the Sundance Film Festival in January and, while I wasn’t able to see the film (it was completely sold out!), I heard nothing but good things about it after its premiere.
“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 film is also written and directed by Parker and also stars 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.