After an initial teaser in April, the searing Sundance sensation The Birth of a Nationfinally gets a full-length trailer which landed online today. (Watch it above.) Based on the true story and pointedly named after D.W. Griffith’s 1915 racist epic, Nation charts the life of Nat Turner (Beyond the Lights’ Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South who led an earth-shaking revolt in Virginia in 1831.
Set to the stirring sounds of Andra Day’s “Rise Up,” the trailer focuses less on the horrors of slavery that the movie depicts and more on the uplift inherent in Turner’s message. The clip follows a bright young Nat’s early education, his marriage to fellow slave Cherry (Aja Naomi King) and his bondage to Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), who hires Nat out to other plantation owners to preach the gospel of obedience and servitude. Nat’s spiritual awakening is in the offing though, as his sermons get more heated — “Sing to him a new song!” — and he starts plotting the rebellion for which he’ll be remembered.
Serving as director, producer, writer, and star, Nate Parker worked for seven years to secure the movie’s modest $10 million budget. His efforts were rewarded with a tremendous response at January’s Sundance Film Festival, where the movie earned raves and a record-breaking $17.5 million distribution deal with Fox Searchlight. Parker shared his passion for the film with Yahoo Movies earlier this year: “If you build it, and you believe in it, and it’s from your soul, and it’s saying something that’s progressive and has moral fiber, then it can be done — you’re on the right track.”
The Birth of a Nation opens on Oct. 7, right in the thick of awards season.