As is so often the case with each passing year, 2016’s Sundance Film Festival ignited a flurry of activity among studios and filmmakers alike, with a number of the major players moving in to acquire the hottest properties in town. And while the likes of Casey Affleck’s Manchester By The Sea and the Ellen Page-starring Tallulah pocketed distribution deals of their own, it was Nate Parker’s boisterous The Birth of a Nation that stole the headlines after securing a lucrative deal with Fox Searchlight to the tune of $17.5 million. That’s the biggest sale in Sundance history, and it didn’t even go to the highest bidder.
Hot on the heels of receiving a standing ovation at the film festival, it’s understood that The Weinstein Company and Netflix had both expressed interest in the feature film – the latter reportedly tabled a $20 million offer – though Parker is confident in partnering with Fox Searchlight, telling The Hollywood Reporter that “it just felt like we were speaking the same language,” says Parker of Fox Searchlight. “There were sentences that were being finished on both sides, and the dialogue just flowed.”
Having written, directed and even starred The Birth of a Nation, Parker has been championing the 19th century slave drama as a passion project, with the official logline describing the eye-catching as so: “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.”
Also starring 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 Birth of a Nation will receive a theatrical release at some point in late 2016.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter