Ever since Sundance, Nate Parker’s breakthrough film The Birth of a Nation has been hyped to the skies. Now that Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer for the powerful period drama, it’s plain to see that the film’s buzz is justified.
Parker, who just took home CinemaCon’s breakthrough director of the year award, wrote, directed, produced and starred in The Birth of a Nation, which itself won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance (and landed near the top of our list of the festival’s best films). Fox Searchlight snapped the film up for a record-setting $17.5 million, the richest Sundance deal ever struck.
Set to Nina Simone’s rendition of “Strange Fruit,” the film’s spine-tingling trailer opens on images of a cotton field and a cross before introducing us to Parker’s Nat Turner, a literate slave who comes to an agreement with his owner, Samuel Turner (a nearly unrecognizable Armie Hammer), to become a traveling, for-profit preacher, helping to subdue unruly slaves. After witnessing countless atrocities and seeing slavery’s scope, Turner orchestrates a bloody uprising in the hopes of freeing his people.
The Birth of a Nation hits theaters on Oct. 7. Watch the trailer above, then watch it again.