*Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” is an upcoming American historical period drama film starring Parker as Nat Turner, the African-American slave who led a slave rebellion of both free and enslaved blacks in Southampton County, Virginia on August 21, 1831 that resulted in 60 white and more black deaths.
The film features an ensemble cast, including Aunjanue Ellis as Nancy Turner, Nat’s mother, Gabrielle Union as his wife, Ester, with Armie Hammer as a slaveowner Samuel Turner, Aja Naomi King, Penelope Ann Miller, Colman Domingo, Mark Boone Junior and Jackie Earle Haley in major supporting roles.
There’s no trailer yet, but here’s a first look at official images from the anticipated film, which Parker wrote and directed and is now prepping for its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 21-31.
The official synopsis reads: Set against the antebellum South, this story follows 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. After witnessing countless atrocities against fellow slaves, Nat devises a plan to lead his people to freedom.
Parker’s aim with the project is to raise awareness and educate people on the rich, and often forgotten or dismissed, history of African Americans.
The actor, who recently signed with CAA, first broke out in 2007 in Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters,” and again in 2012’s “Red Tails,” the real-life story of the Tuskegee Airmen. Parker’s other credits include “Beyond the Lights,” “About Alex and Every Secret Thing,” as well as “Non-Stop,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer and “Arbitrage” with Richard Gere, THR notes.
“The Birth of a Nation” marks Nate’s directorial debut. He is producing the historical drama with Bron Studios, Mandalay, Phantom Four and Tiny Giant Entertainment.