“Birth of a Nation” Earns Standing Ovation at Toronto Film Festival as Nate Parker Makes First Appearance Since Focus On Rape Case


Nate Parker arrived on the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday – his first public appearance since news of his involvement in a 1999 rape case resurfaced.

The 36-year-old filmmaker was at TIFF for the premiere of his film The Birth of a Nation – a passion project Parker wrote, directed, produced and starred in.

Introducing the movie, Parker said: “I want to thank you for your time and for coming to see our film. This film has been a labor of love for us and we are desperately proud to present it to you.”

The film later received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd.

The movie recounts the 1831 slave uprising of Nat Turner, an African-American preacher who convinced his fellow slaves to turn against their masters.

“When I learned about him I felt like, ‘Man this is someone who should be celebrated along the line of the Patrick Henrys, the Jeffersons and our forefathers,’ ” Parker explained during a post-screening Q&A. “I was so inspired by his story that when I became an actor and decided I would start writing, I felt like this was a story that I felt, historically speaking, could really promote the kind of healing we need and the conversation around race,”

It was considered to be an early Oscar favorite after earning rave reviews and an unprecedented $17 million deal at the Sundance Film Festival.

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