Set to Andra Day’s empowering “Rise Up”, the teaser clip gives movie fans a further glimpse at the upcoming historical biopic that earned the longest standing ovation at Sundance earlier this year before landing a record-breaking $17.5 million deal with Fox Searchlight.
Written and directed by 36-year-old newcomer Parker, The Birth of a Nation focuses on his character Nat Turner and offers a stark contrast to DW Griffith’s 1915 film of the same name, which many blame for sparking a second wave of the Klu Klux Klan white supremacy movement.
Parker’s story follows Turner from a young age as, born into slavery, he grows up to become a preacher and organise the uprising. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” reads overlay text as he gathers the slaves to charge at their rifle-armed white masters in what is surely the harrowing film’s dramatic finale.
Parker spent seven years trying to get the film made, reportedly investing $100,000 of his own money into the $10 million production, turning down various other roles to pursue a project he felt so passionate about.
Following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy at this year’s Academy Awards, speculation is running high that a black director and cast could bring some much-needed diversity to the 2017 winners list.
Parker said during a Sundance Q&A that he made The Birth of a Nation with the hope of inspiring change. “You can watch this film and see there are systems that were in place that were corrupt and corrupted people,.” he said. “The legacy of that still lives with us.”
The Birth of a Nation will reach UK cinemas on 20 January next year, also starring Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Aja Naomi King and Gabrielle Union.
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