Written by | Ray Cornelius
“Birth of A Nation” writer, producer, director and star Nate Parker participated in a special Q&A session Wednesday evening following an advanced screening of his critically acclaimed film. The viewing took place at the Regal Atlantic Station and was attended by members of the Atlanta press as well students from the Atlanta University Center. It was moderated by Morehouse College’s Dr. Stephane Dunn, associate professor and Director of The Cinema, Television, & Emerging Media Studies program (CTEMS).
Set against the antebellum South, “Birth of a Nation” follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. The film also stars Gabrielle Union, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King and Roger Guenveur Smith.
The brief discussion began with Parker talking candidly about his reasons for producing the film. He also opened up about a lot of the opposition he received from prominent Black and White filmmakers. In fact, he was warned not to do the film because he could experience potential backlash throughout Hollywood. But he claims that he remained steadfast in his convictions and did the movie anyway as an “artistic” offering to masses.
“So making this film became more of an offering as an artist and as person of faith to the art community and to the Black community and to America other than it was even a film or something I could do to further my career,” said Parker to the audience.
He also admitted that his personal walk of faith was tested while shooting the film so much so that he began questioning his own Christian beliefs. “We’re at a crossroads in many ways as a community! I remember making this film I had to grapple with the idea of what it meant to be a Christian even. Am I a Nat Turner Christian or am I a Christian like those who hung him and beheaded him and skinned him and crushed his flesh to grease?”
“Birth of a Nation” opens in theaters on Friday, October 7. Check out more images of Nate Parker below + photos from a recent screening that was hosted by David Banner:
“Birth of a Nation” Screening hosted by David Banner with Roger Bobb, Derek J, Fahamu Pecou, Tameka Raymond & more
Egypt Sherrod with DJ Fadelf
Dr. Rondrick Williamson from “The Doctors”
Swagu Style House
Wright A. Jones, MD
David Banner with Roger M. Bobb
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com