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Black Films Matter

Black Films Matter

Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker, African American Film, African American History, Black Films, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Black Films Matter
2 5 | J U L Y | 2 0 1 6

Will ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ Nate Parker’s provocative slavery saga, attract African American audiences and the Academy?


BY   K. Austin Collins  |  PUBLICATION   The Ringer 

Consider the immediate context. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. The waves of protests nationwide, ever-widening in their arcs. The Dallas police shootings. The ritual stages of grief, disbelief, madness. Consider the moment: the summer of an election year, one so dire and so crucial it’s been drawing comparisons to 1968. It’s as much a culmination of an untreated ulcer, ours and everyone else’s, as that summer. But a key difference between then and now is that our flare-up isn’t over. It’s not history yet: We don’t know how bad it’s going to be.

See Also
African American History, Black History, New Years, Hiring Day, Heartbreak Day, Slavery, American Slavery, U.S. History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, Wriit,

Consider, then, the astonishing certainty of this image: a silent black face beckoning from out of charcoal darkness, teary, strung up by the neck. The face is sculpted in black and white. But the noose is all color: stars and bars in a familiar red, white, and blue.

BIRTH OF A NATION (2016)
AMERICAN FILM – Nate Parker, Director
The Birth of a Nation is written, produced, and directed by Nate Parker, who also stars as Nat Turner. Parker wrote the screenplay, which was based on a story by him and Jean McGianni Celestin. Parker learned about Turner from an African-American studies course at the University of Oklahoma. He began writing the screenplay for a Nat Turner film in 2009 and had a fellowship at a lab under the Sundance Institute. While he got writing feedback from filmmakers like James Mangold, he was told that a Nat Turner film could not be produced. The Hollywood Reporter said, “But what he heard instead were all the reasons a movie about Nat Turner wouldn’t work: Movies with black leads don’t play internationally; a period film with big fight scenes would be too expensive; it was too violent; it wouldn’t work without a big box-office star leading it; Turner was too controversial—after all, he was responsible for the deaths of dozens of well-off white landowners.”
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