The movie about slave rebellion The Birth of A Nation premiered on Monday in Park City and received a ton of standing ovations. The drama was bought by Fox Searchlight at the Sundance Film Festival for $17.5 million!
Searchlight beat bids coming from Weinstein Co., Netflix, Paramount and others. Several other films have gone for over 10 million such as Manchester by the Sea (bought by Amazon) and The Way, Way Back (by Searchlight).
Nate Parker, who wrote, directed, produced and stars in the project, speaks about the making of the movie which is based on the story of Nat Turner, an American slave who led the most successful slave rebellion in American history. Although it broke records for the Sundance festival, it isn’t the most expensive yet. Two Cannes festival titles, Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals and Denis Villenueve’s Story of Your Life both went for $20 million, and they weren’t even made yet.
When the film Birth of a Nation premiered Monday at Eccles theater, there was a long standing ovation which lasted throughout the movie, credits, and went on as Parker took the stage for a Q&A.He spoke to the audience and said:
“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. I just want you, if you are affected and you are so moved, to ask yourself, ‘Are there systems in my life that need attention whether it be racial, gender?’ There are a lot of injustices.”
Soon after he spoke, a bunch of different buyers were in the audience, expecting the movie to be the highest bid of the festival this year. There was a bidding war continuing all night long with about 7 interested parties going at each other. Parker quit acting for TWO YEARS in order to get the finances for the film in place. The movie also stars Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley and Gabrielle Union.
Parker, along with Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert, and Preston L. Holmes produced The Birth of a Nation with David S. Goyer, Michael Novogratz, Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Jason Cloth, Jane Oster, Barb Lee, Carl H. Lindner III, Derrick Brooks, Jill and Ryan Ahrens, Armin Tehrany, and Mark Moran acting as executive producers.