Nate Parker’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ Makes An Impressive Debut And Is The Biggest Sale of The Circuit
Actor Nate Parker, who went virtually unnoticed in the romantic drama Beyond the Lights co-starring British actress Gugu-Mbatha-Raw, is about to become a household name.
Coming on the heels of his directorial debut, Parker has now joined the ranks of triple threat geniuses who stop at nothing to get the work done.
Based on the enthusiastic and heightened reception for his operatic offering The Birth of a Nation – a slave drama that depicts that moment in history when an American-born slave, Nat Turner, initiated an uprising and led a slave rebellion that proved to be one of the most climactic events in American history.
The film had its premiere in Sundance and amidst all the critical acclaim and standing ovations was the winning number. $17.5 million to be exact. That is the amount it took for Fox Searchlight to own the rights to one of the most anticipated films of the year.
The accolades and industry confetti have been a change of scenery for Parker who admittedly stopped acting for two years in order to focus on his labor of love which involved the tedious task of courting potential financiers.
During a Q&A session after the film’s screening, Parker took to the stage at Eccles theater in Park City, Utah, and explained why his film was a necessary and formidable endeavor, “I made this film for one reason, with the hope of creating change agents. That people can watch this film and be affected. That you can watch this film and see that there were systems that were in place that were corrupt and corrupted people and the legacy of that still lives with us”.
It looks like his adeptness at being a visionary storyteller with a starkly defined mission has paid off and judging by the finely incremented cast that includes, Gabrielle Union, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley and Armie Hammer – it’s no wonder that several studios were on a mission and willing to fight till the very end.
Not a bad way to blast through the iron doors of Hollywood without prior notification. It’s also worth noting that The Birth of a Nation is also the highest any party has shelled out for a film at Sundance.
While this is very encouraging on the diversity front – many also wonder why slave movies that depict the historical woes of black people seem to be the most sought after or the most lauded especially by the industry at large. Could it be the underlying message or the aching distressed reminder of a period that as much as we try to renovate seems to remain freshly provocative.
Either way Nate Parker has emerged as the one to look out for in the coming months. And we are sold!
As a preparatory course – check out the trailer for the 1915 film