Fox Searchlight will distribute The Birth of a Nation, written, directed, produced by and starring Nate Parker
Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to writer, director, producer and star Nate Parker’s powerful slave drama The Birth of a Nation. The film received a standing ovation following its Sundance Film Festival debut.
Set against the antebellum South, The Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, 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 stars Parker himself opposite 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. The film is a Bron Studios, Phantom Four, Mandalay Pictures and Tiny Giant Productions production and is produced by Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert and Preston L. Holmes with David S. Goyer, Michael Novogratz, Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Jason Cloth, Andy Pollack, Allan J. Stitt, Jane Oster, Barb Lee, Carl H. Lindner III, Derrick Brooks, Jill And Ryan Ahrens, Armin Tehrany, Edward Zwick and Mark Moran serving as executive producers.
“From the moment we saw this film we knew we wanted to join Nate Parker in fulfilling his vision as the film’s portrayal of injustice is unfortunately still relevant today,” said Gilula and Utley. “His dedication and artistry in revitalizing Nat Turner’s legacy and place in history has resulted in an extraordinarily compelling and moving film that delivers on every level. The ensemble cast, led by Nate Parker, is committed and exceptional.”
“It brings me immense joy and excitement to welcome the Searchlight team into our family,” adds Parker. “I embrace their shared passion for this film and its potential impact on our country and the world.”
The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien and Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Ray Strache, with WME Global and Christian Simonds and Jared Bloch of Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers on behalf of the filmmakers.
Fox Searchlight will release The Birth of a Nation wide later this year.