Actor, writer and director Nate Parker's film The Birth of a Nation was a passion project and the darling of Sundance, where it sold for a record-breaking $17.5 million. The film tells the story of the Nat Turner slave rebellion. The movie was already seen as an Oscar favorite, especially but now its awards potential is up in the air. Parker and his co-writer on the film where tried for rape that allegedly happened in 1999 when he was a student at Penn State. They were eventually acquitted, but the case has come under renewed scrutiny in the lead up to the release of the film. This week it was revealed that the woman pressing charges has since passed away, making an already difficult situation even more tragic. The film will still make its international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, but it remains to be seen how Fox Searchlight will handle the marketing and publicity. The likely goal would be to promote the film while distancing it from Parker, but that is difficult when he's the director and star, and part of his Sundance deal was that he would tour the country presenting at colleges and Christian groups.
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