Well, Nate Parker didn't choose to go small with his directorial debut. Instead he swung for the fences with the story of a personal hero and controversial historical figure, Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in 1831 that led to the deaths of dozens. The film arrives at an interesting time as Hollywood faces renewed scrutiny over the lack of diversity, and maybe it's partly due to that the film has been the most buzzed about here in Park City.
But it's definitely not the only reason as the film has received near universal praise from critics (my review is here) and talk of setting a new paradigm for black filmmakers in Hollywood. We've already seen that shift begin with Fox Searchlight's record-breaking $17.5M acquisition of the film, guaranteeing it will at least be in the awards season race later this year.
On the eve of The Birth of a Nation's world premiere, Tim Gordon and I sat down to talk with Nate Parker about his vision for the film, his thoughts on who Nat Turner really was, and if he expects there will be any pushback once it is released. Check out our interview from the Sundance Film Festival below.