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nate parker’s real-life tale of a slave uprising breaks sales record at sundance

The Birth of A Nation, screened last night, has been picked up by Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million.

by Charlotte Gush
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27 January 2016, 5:07pm

Nate Parker's film The Birth of A Nation has smashed sales records at Sundance, with Fox Searchlight paying $17.5 million for worldwide rights -- the biggest sale in the festival's history and also the largest sum ever paid at any festival, including Cannes, Toronto and Berlin.

Parker wrote, produced, directed and stars in the film, which tells the real-life story of Nat Turner, a slave preacher turned revolutionary leader who led an uprising in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831.

The film has been in the making for a decade, with Parker putting $100,000 of his own cash into the production, reportedly being rejected many times before raising $10 million from other investors and cruising to massive success after premiering at Sundance last night.

In a Q&A at Sundance, the director said, "There is a system, that is based on race, that says African American films don't sell, so this is a win for independent filmmakers, this is a blow against white supremacy and racism in this country and abroad. We don't have to accept those rules, those ideas that started before we were doing it. Who made up the rules? No one knows. Yet we abide by them? No, no more," Deadline report.

"I want everyone to be challenged -- it's kind of like a battle cry from a filmmaking standpoint," Parker continues, "Because yes, we need to deal with pervasive racism in Hollywood, but also in society, so I wanted a film that people could watch and be affected-- almost hold them hostage in the theater, where they have to see this images, and they have to see the parallels and the themes that are echoing right now in 2016".