BY SHAMAN MOMOH
So, Nate Parker‘s American biographical film about Nat Turner, the African-American slave who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, The Birth of a Nation has landed the biggest deal in Sundance Film Festival history after Fox Searchlight beat other big distribution companies including Netflix (it reportedly offered a whopping $20 million) and The Weinstein Company.
The Birth of a Nation stars Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Boone Junior and Parker, and Fox is paying $17.5 million which takes it above the $10.5 million it paid for Little Miss Sunshine in 2006.
According to reports, the deal breaker was that Netflix wanted the movie to hit the cinemas and streaming platforms on the same day. Fox, on the other hand, promised a theatrical release timed to awards season. And due to the company’s success at guiding 12 Years a Slave to the Oscars in 2014, the choice was easy.
The film has been generating good reviews all over with respected critic, Roger Ebert’s website remarking, “Having worked on “The Birth of a Nation” for seven years, Nate Parker wisely found the right people to help convey his passion project. Notably, the cinematography from the great Elliot Davis (“King of the Hill,” “Out of Sight”) finds a balance between the lyrical and the realistic, never falling too hard on either side of the line.”
Referring to the standing ovation it received at Sundance, The Guardian said, “The film’s name, the timing of its premiere and the huge standing ovation it received mean this will be one of the festival’s most talked-about movies. But the film’s often ham-fisted composition will leave many turned off.”
Part of The Hollywood Reporter review reads, “…the film offers up more than enough in terms of intelligence, insight, historical research and religious nuance to not at all be considered a missed opportunity.”
Watch Nate Parker talk about the movie below: