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 and uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. The first teaser trailer has arrived for this intense new drama. And it is positioned to be the film to beat at next year's Academy Awards.
The Birth of a Nation won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, where it made it's debut. The film was picked up by Fox Searchlight for a record breaking $17.5 million. The film has been compared to 12 Years a Slave and Schindler's List. The historical drama will get a year-end Award Season release from Fox Searchlight.
Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Mark Boone Junior and Aja Naomi King lead the supporting cast of Birth of a Nation. Nate Parker produced the movie with Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert, Preston L. Holmes and Kevin Turen. This first look footage is set to Nina Simone's classic cover of the Billie Holiday perennial Starnge Fruit.
Birth of a Nation marks the feature-length directorial debut for Nate Parker, who takes the lead in the movie. He's previously directed two short films. But he began his career as an actor on such TV series as Cold Case and Kurtlar Vadisi. He made his movie acting debut in the indie comedy thriller Cruel World starting opposite Edward Furlong and Jaime Pressly. This latest project brings him a long way from those auspicious beginnings, positioning him as both a possible Best Actor and Best Director candidate.
Nate Parker went onto much more prestigious roles in such movies as Ain't Them Bodies Saints and the highly acclaimed Beyond the Lights. The role of Nat Turner is one of his greatest yet, and you can see some of the emotion and power on display in this first look. The movie will be in theaters October 7.