How 'The Birth of a Nation' Set a Record with a $17.5 Million Acquisition at Sundance

Birth of a Nation Sundance 2016
Credit: Elliot Davis
Writer-director-actor Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation premiered this week at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival to rapturous applause, teary eyes (including my own), and a midnight bidding war that reportedly went up to $20 million (with Fox Searchlight ultimately acquiring the film for a record-breaking $17.5 million). 

The Birth of a Nation (which re-claims the title from the 1915 D.W Griffith racist opus) shares a producer with my own film, Amateur — Jason Michael Berman — so I was fortunate to be at the after-party following the premiere, where rumors began to circulate of skyrocketing bids. When Parker, Berman and the other producers disappeared from the party, we knew a midnight bidding war was in-progress, the kind that is so rare and virtually unheard of outside of Sundance. The following day Parker and company appeared on a panel hosted by Deadline's Dominic Patten to explain how the film was made (and acquired). The panel features Nate Parker and fellow actors Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller and Chiké Okonkwo, as well as producers Jason Michael Berman, Kevin Turen and Aaron Gilbert:

Stay tuned for my in-depth podcast interview with Birth Director of Photography Elliot Davis. And for more, see our complete coverage of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance 2016 Blackmagic Design

No Film School's video and editorial coverage of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival is sponsored by Blackmagic Design.     

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The timing is perfect for this movie.

January 27, 2016 at 3:40PM


Is there a trailer for this movie anywhere? I couldn't find one.

January 28, 2016 at 2:58PM, Edited January 28, 2:58PM


I've been looking everywhere and I can't find one. I even posted on their Official Facebook Page asking for one and haven't gotten a response. I'm really stoked to see it, though!

January 29, 2016 at 1:59AM

David West

"Re-claimed" or ripped off?? I hate hack movie makers.

January 29, 2016 at 3:08AM