Actor and director Nate Parker as Nat Turner in The Birth of a Nation
Fox Searchlight

First of all, how much do we love the fact that Nate Parker’s film on Nat Turner’s slave uprising is called The Birth of a Nation, reclaiming the moniker of one of the most virulently racist movies in the entire American film canon?

Second, can we hardly wait for the October release, which finally and, if the trailer is any indication, hauntingly tells the story of slavery from an African-American perspective?

On Friday, Fox Searchlight debuted a two-minute clip of scenes from Birth of a Nation, Parker’s eight-years-in-the-making magnum opus, opening with the chords of Nina Simone’s rendition of “Strange Fruit,” and bathed in moody sepia and blue tones.

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The film was raucously received at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where distributors got into a bidding war and Fox Searchlight ultimately paid $17.5 million for distribution. (Parker also won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.)

The Los Angeles Times reports that Parker, a Virginia native, produced, wrote, directed and stars in Birth and was in college when he learned about Turner, a preacher who led one of the biggest rebellions of slaves in America, in 1831 Virginia.

Parker, 36, is involved in all aspects of the film, from marketing to the film’s global rollout. He told the Times he is managing expectations for his highly anticipated debut.

“I try to stay away from expectation, because you never know,” he said. “The reality is, people are people and their opinions are their opinions, and you hope that you touch them in a way that at least you can take them on a journey that will activate them and make them feel like they can do something to affect the injustice that they see in the systems around them.”

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Read more at the Los Angeles Times.