With every great event comes a highlight moment or situation and for Sundance 2016 that highlight was the record setting deal Fox Searchlight made for Nate Parker’s passion project about revolted slave Nat Turner. Parker directed, wrote, produced, and starred in this indie hit and was lauded for all the above. Since then, it has won all the big awards at Sundance and will likely be the film audiences flock to once it gets a wide release in theaters.
The hot topic of discussion in Hollywood is the lack of opportunities for minorities to shine and showcase their all around talents and with Birth of a Nation, people are quickly figuring out this could be one of the many keys that unlocks the issue at hand.
Nate Parker has been around long enough to know how Hollywood works and his skills as an actor are highly underrated. A commanding presence on screen and a class act off screen makes him endlessly likable with the leading man qualities you’d think studios are looking for, but it is only in the indie circuit and the backing of other black film makers – Denzel Washington and Gina Prince Bythwood – has he been able to showcase what he is really made of. Beyond his roles in The Great Debaters and Beyond the Lights, Parker has been stuck in the same trap that actors like Ryan Reynolds or Gerard Butler have fallen into which is being incredibly talented leading men who can’t seem to get consistently good leading roles in good movies.
With Birth of a Nation getting the attention it likely deserves it proves that all it takes for more diversity to occur in Hollywood is recognition and for them to be given more chances.