Virginia Filmmaker’s Directorial Debut Gets Record-Setting Deal at Sundance

Posted By on January 28, 2016

A graduate of Great Bridge High School in nearby Chesapeake, Virginia has just landed the biggest deal in the illustrious history of the long-running Sundance Film Festival for The Birth of a Nation, already a critical favorite after just one screening, written, produced, and directed by Nate Parker.

Nate Parker, a 36-year-old filmmaker from Hampton Roads, VA is about to become a household name after landing the biggest distribution deal in the history of the prestigious Sundance Film Festival showcase for indie movies, founded in 1978 by actor Robert Redford and held annually in Utah.

 Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, which tells the true story of Nat Turner’s legendary 1831 slave revolt in Southhampton County, Virginia, was picked up by Fox Searchlight Pictures for a reported $17.5 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Despite higher offers from Netflix and Amazon, Parker reportedly opted to go with Fox Searchlight because they guaranteed a theatrical release specifically timed in conjunction with next year’s awards season, which culminates every February with the Oscars. 

When the film, shot in Savannah, Georgia, premiered on Monday night in Utah, the audience responded with a standing ovation that lasted through the entire closing credits.

With Parker portraying Turner, the cast also includes Gabrielle Union (Bring It On, Bad Boys II), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, A Nightmare on Elm Street), Armie Hammer (The Social Network, The Lone Ranger, The Man from UNCLE), and Penelope Ann Miller (The Relic, Carlito’s Way).

 Parker was born in Norfolk, Virginia and lived in several cities in South Hampton Roads, ultimately graduating from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake. He has previously starred in a number of feature films, including The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington, Non-Stop with Liam Neeson and Red Tails, produced by George Lucas.

Nate Parker wrote, produced, directed, and stars in The Birth of a Nation. Expect it to dominate next year’s Academy Awards.

Norfolk, Virginia native Nate Parker (center) wrote, produced, directed, and stars in 'The Birth of a Nation'.

Norfolk, Virginia native Nate Parker (center) wrote, produced, directed, and stars in ‘The Birth of a Nation’.


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Posted by Matt Artz

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