Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer for writer/producer/director/star Nate Parker’s slavery drama The Birth of a Nation. The film tells the true story of Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher who was used to “calm” other slaves in neighboring plantations down via his sermons, and who subsequently led a bloody uprising that had reverberations throughout the country.
This is a fantastic trailer that makes expert use of Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit” to give a somber tone to the first half before getting to the rousing, energetic second-half. It condense the story without spoiling its most powerful moments, and what’s even more impressive is that it doesn’t use a single blurb even though the film received strong praise out of Sundance.
Watch the Birth of a Nation teaser trailer below, and click here to read my review from Sundance. The film also stars Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Penelope Ann Miller, Aunjane Ellis, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Boone Jr, Colman Domingo, Dwight Henry, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Gabrielle Union. The Birth of a Nation opens in theaters on October 7th.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Birth of a Nation:
Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION 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. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.