/Filmcast Ep. 387 – The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation

David and Devindra tussle over the journalistic merits of Netflix’s Amanda Knox while Jeff reviews HBO’s fall line-up and impugns David’s television tastes. You can watch David’s video review of Birth of a Nation, and read up on the controversy behind The Birth of a Nation, as well as the recent controversy within the film community itself.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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The Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation was one of my most anticipated films this year, due to the rapturous response people had to it at Sundance. Just from reading the plot summary and seeing the trailer, the film’s plot seemed to speak to many aspects of race and racial violence that we desperately need to have in our national conversation today.

Unfortunately, since Sundance, the film has been embroiled in controversy around its director and star. Moreover, the way the film depicts women, whose sexual violation is used as a way to motivate its men to take action, is deeply problematic at best.

I’m trying something a little different this week. Rather than a quick 3-4 minute video review, I filmed my friend Wendi and me having a lengthy, 30-minute conversation about the film, its depiction of women, and the real-life controversy surrounding it. I hope you find it interesting.

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2016 fall movie preview

This 2016 fall movie preview was written by Jacob Hall and Jack Giroux.

The summer is over and the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting milder and (fingers crossed) the movies are going to start getting better. The next four months offer an embarrassment of cinematic riches, with new films from Martin Scorsese, Damien Chazelle, Tim Burton, Gareth Edwards, Paul Verhoeven, Mel Gibson, Robert Zemeckis, Park Chan-Wook, Terrence Malick, J.A. Bayona, Jeff Nichols, Ang Lee, Denis Villeneuve, Kenneth Lonergan, and other filmmakers of note waiting in the wings.

We’ve narrowed down the list of must-see movies to 32 titles and have ranked them from “We really want to see this!” to “We will push you out of the way at a sprint to see this!”

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The Birth of a Nation

Any way you slice it, The Birth of a Nation was one of the biggest success stories to come out of Sundance this year. The film got scooped up by Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million — a new Sundance record — and it walked away with the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. By all accounts, the energy at the film’s premiere was electric. By the time I got to see it at the press screening the next day, word had spread and the lines to get in were some of the longest I saw at the entire festival.

So what’s all the fuss about? What is it about the movie that has everyone so hyped up, director and star Nate Parker being anointed as the Next Big Thing, and critics predicting awards nominations a full year ahead of schedule? Well, you’ll get to see for yourself this fall when the film hits theaters. But to give you a little taste in the meantime, here’s a new The Birth of a Nation trailer.
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Birth of a Nation

Of all the films that played at Sundance this year, perhaps none got more hype than Nate Parker‘s The Birth of a Nation. Not only did it get spectacular reviews, it scored the biggest Sundance deal ever, with Fox Searchlight forking over $17.5 million. The distributor promptly set Birth of a Nation for a fall release, right at the start of awards-movie season, and now it’s getting a head start on the marketing by dropping the very first promo.

Parker stars in his own directorial debut as Nat Turner, a devoutly religious slave who becomes a traveling preacher — and, eventually, the leader of the bloodiest slave rebellion in American history. Armie Hammer plays Nat’s owner, and Penelope Ann MillerJackie Earle Haley, and Aja Naomi King also star. Watch the Birth of a Nation trailer after the jump.  Read More »

The Birth of a Nation

The $17.5 million that Fox Searchlight paid for The Birth of a Nation was the single biggest deal in Sundance history. So of course the distributor has huge plans for the movie — including, it appears, a bid for next year’s awards race. Fox Searchlight has just announced a fall 2016 release date for Nate Parker‘s slave drama, which lit up this year’s Sundance Film Festival.  Read More »

movies sold at Sundance 2016

These are the movies sold at Sundance 2016. Many of the films that premiere at the Sundance Film Festival are hoping to attract a distributor and find a bigger audience, be it in theaters around the country or distributed through digital VOD. Throughout the festival we will be reporting on all of the movies sold at Sundance 2016. This list should help give you an idea about which movies may someday be available to you either theatrically of VOD. We’re including photo stills from each of the films along with all of the relevant information (director, cast, how much it sold for, the plot synopsis and more).  Hit the jump to find out which movies sold at Sundance 2016.

Latest update: Netflix grabs SVOD rights to Belgica (from Broken Circle Breakdown director Felix van Groeningen) and White Girl (starring Homeland‘s Morgan Saylor); Amazon Prime picks up NUTS!, a documentary about the stranger-than-fiction story of John Romulus Brinkley.

Previous update: Miramax/Roadshow acquire Obama love story Southside With You, Magnet buys horror film The Eyes of My Mother.

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The Best Films of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance 2016

After 10 glorious days, the 2016 Sundance Film Festival came to a close last night, with awards handed out Saturday night. And now that the festival is officially over and done with, we at /Film have tallied the movies we saw this year, to present to you a list of our favorites.

Three writers from /Film attended the festival this year: Peter Sciretta, Angie Han, and Ethan Anderton. Just three movies were viewed by all three members of the /Film team: Other PeopleHunt for the Wilderpeople, and Manchester by the Sea. Another 12 were seen by two members of the /Film staff, and 26 were seen by just one person. In all, the three of us caught 41 different movies. So how did the films we watched stack up? Run down the best of Sundance 2016 with us after the jump.  Read More »

The Birth of a Nation

Today the 2016 Sundance Film Festival is coming to a close, and Saturday night, the awards for feature filmmaking were handed out to the movies that played in Park City, Utah. The big prizes from the festival are the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, one given by a select group of jurors and the other chosen by the festival attendees themselves. In 2014, Whiplash took both awards, and this year we have another film taking the two honors as Nate Parker‘s slave rebellion tale The Birth of a Nation was announced to receive both.

Find out the full list of other 2016 Sundance Film Festival awards winners below. Read More »

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The Birth of a Nation

In his debut feature as a director, Nate Parker attempts to do no less than reclaim American history in the name of the slaves who had their own lives and their own stories ripped away from them. This re-appropriation starts with the title — The Birth of a Nation is stolen from D.W. Griffith’s racist epic — and continues with an opening epigraph. “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,” reads the quote from Thomas Jefferson, famously a slave owner, “that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Parker himself stars as Nat Turner, a Virginia slave who in 1831 led the deadliest slave rebellion in American history. By the end, about 60 whites had been killed — and a hundred or more blacks had been slaughtered in retaliation. The Birth of a Nation is the sorrowful, righteously angry chronicle of how Nat, a kind, charismatic, and devout preacher, came to spark a bloody uprising.

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