Sharing no more than a familiar title with D.W. Griffith‘s inflammatory 1915 film, the story 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. After witnessing countless atrocities against fellow slaves, Nat devises a plan to lead his people to freedom.”
Parker, who wrote the story with Jean McGianni Celestin and directed the feature, stars as Turner, whose historically glossed over rebellion resulted in 55-65 white deaths, 100-200 black deaths, and Turner’s hanging.
“I couldn’t be more honored to tell the story of one of America’s greatest heroes,” Parker said earlier this year. “A man whose actions rocked the nation, further precipitating the Civil War and emancipation for Americans of African descent. Nat Turner’s rebellion and message of resistance not only compels us to stand in the face of iniquity but also shines light on a critical moment in our history.”The cast also includes Armie Hammer (The Social Network), Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away With Murder), Aunjanue Ellis (The Book of Negroes), Colman Domingo (Selma), Dwight Henry (12 Years a Slave), Roger Guenveur Smith (Empire State) and Gabrielle Union (Being Mary Jane). The recipient of a fellowship with the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program last year, The Birth of a Nation will premiere on January 25 at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival (January 21-31) in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category. The film was produced by Aaron L. Gilbert, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Preston Holmes and Parker under Bron Studios, Phantom Four, Mandalay Pictures and Tiny Giant Prods. in association with Follow Through Prods., Infinity Entertainment and Creative Wealth Media Finance. David Goyer, Mike Novogratz, Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Jason Cloth, Jane Oster, Barb Lee, Carl Lindner, Derrick Brooks, Ryan and Jill Ahrens, Armin Tehrany and Mark Moran served as executive producers.
Until now, the most notable film project about Turner was Charles Burnett‘s 2003 documentary, Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property, which aired on PBS in 2004.
— Nate Parker (@NateParker) December 3, 2015