People of color have been tormented throughout the entire history of cinema, starting off with D.W. Griffith’s 1915 “groundbreaking” film, The Birth of a Nation.
His film and its subsequent sequel, Intolerance, gave the controversial filmmaker the distinction of being the “Inventor of Hollywood,” which hauntingly still features remnants of his beliefs and methods being practiced today (we’re looking at you, The Hollywood Reporter).
Fast forward 200 years, and it seems that progress has moved at the speed of an inebriated snail. Black-and-brown people are being snubbed for stellar work, if not mentioned at all. To combat such derelict of duty, Nate Parker has stepped up to the plate to tip the scales with his anticipated take on The Birth of a Nation, which he also wrote, directed and starred in.
The historical period drama piece finds Parker as Nat Turner, the willful and headstrong literate slave who led a rebellion of both free and enslaved blacks in Southhampton County, Virginia on August 21, 1831. Turner’s owner, Samuel Turner, played by Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), is strapped for cash and accepts an offer from Nat to use his preaching skills to subdue unruly slaves.
Upon seeing the harm against such methods, Nat Turner hatches a plan that would go on to lead his people to freedom. The Birth of a Nation is planning on making its world debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which should cause quite a stir given all the other events going on in the world today. Co-starring alongside Parker and Hammer are Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union and Mark Boon Jr.
While there isn’t a trailer for Birth of a Nation yet, please check out these stills that highlight some powerful moments from the film.