Nate Parker, star of Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters, made history at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival with the critically acclaimed The Birth of a Nation. The film, centered on the inspiring story of slave rebellion leader Nat Turner, broke a Sundance record previously held by Little Miss Sunshine for the highest payout for distribution rights. Ahead of the film's October release, Complex got the scoop on some behind-the-scenes footage that shows this might very well be the movie of the year.
"For me, understanding the importance of Nat Turner has been on my soul since the moment I said 'I need to make this film,'" Parker, who portrays Turner in The Birth of a Nation, said of the film's importance in the behind-the-scenes exclusive. "Nat Turner believed that the least among us could do the greatest things."
"It's our history told from our perspective," said Gabrielle Union, who co-stars as Esther. "This is something that we need to face, so that we can learn from it and do better," Aja Naomi King, who stars as Cherry, added.
In addition to starring as Nat Turner, Parker also wrote and directed The Birth of a Nation. The title, of course, takes direct aim at the notoriously racist 1915 Ku Klux Klan propaganda production of the same name. Peep the official synopsis for Parker's film below:
Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), 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.
The Birth of a Nation, also starring Armie Hammer and Penelope Ann Miller, hits theaters Oct. 7.