The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker‘s film about Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and a bidding war.

The Birth Of A Nation At Sundance

The Birth of a Nation screened at Sundance on Monday at the Eccles Theater in Park City, Utah. When the credits started to roll, the film received a standing ovation that lasted until the credits ended. The enthusiasm for the film carried over into the bids for the film.

Weinstein Co., Paramount, Netflix and Fox Searchlight were in a bidding war that stretched overnight. In the end, Fox Searchlight won with a $17.5 million bid for distribution, which sets a record for Sundance, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Parker, a self-described activist-artist, spent seven years on his Nat Turner project. Set in 1831, it tells the incredible story of the slave rebellion that the literate American-born slave led in Virginia. As conditions for the slaves worsened, Turner, who’d served as a preacher on his plantation, organized the 48-hour attack that went down as the most successful slave rebellion in history.

“I made this film for one reason, with the hope of creating change agents. That people can watch this film and be affected. That you can watch this film and see that there were systems that were in place that were corrupt and corrupted people and the legacy of that still lives with us,” Parker said during the Q&A after the film. “I just want you, if you are affected and you are so moved, to ask yourself, ‘Are there systems in my life that need attention whether it be racial, gender?’ There are a lot of injustices.”

Parker stars in the film as Nat Turner. Armie Hammer plays his master, Samuel, and How to Get Away with Murder‘s Aja Naomi King plays his wife, Cherry. Jackie Earle Haley and Gabrielle Union also star.

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