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Our first glimpse of Nate Parker's baby is finally here, as we get the first teaser trailer for The Birth of a Nation. The Nat Turner biopic, which Parker has been working on for seven years, premiered at Sundance earlier this year and set off a record-breaking bidding war. Fox Searchlight Pictures won worldwide rights with a $17.5 million bid, beating out Netflix's $20 million offer.
Parker began writing the screenplay in 2009, and in 2013 he announced he wouldn't act again until he was able to play Turner in a film. He invested $100,000 of his own money into hiring a production manager and doing location scouting in Savannah Georgia and eventually raised $10 million from investors including former NBA player Michael Finley and current Spur Tony Parker. Filming began in November 2014, with a cast including Gabrielle Union, Armie Hammer, and Fear the Walking Dead's Colman Domingo.
"I want everyone to be challenged," Parker said during a panel discussion at Deadline's Samsung Studio in January. "It's kind of like a battle cry from a filmmaking standpoint." Parker added that he wanted to make a movie that "people could watch and be affected," expressing his desire that Birth of a Nation will "hold them hostage in a theater, where they have to see these images, and they have to see the parallels and the themes that are echoing right now in 2016."
Parker is also taking that call to creative action to Wiley College, the historically black Texas school featured prominently in The Great Debaters. In March, Parker announced the opening of the Nate Parker School of Film and Drama at the university. "The hope is that we cover all aspects of filmmaking, from sound, lighting, and cinematography, to just studying film specifically with the cultural component and the history of film," Parker told KLTV. "You control the moving picture, you control the masses."
The Birth of a Nation hits theatres Oct. 7.