The purchase of The Birth of a Nation by Fox Searchlight is the largest purchase in the history of the Sundance Film Festival. After standing ovations after the period piece’s viewing, the Oscar buzz for the film garnered a bit of a bidding war. Nate Parker, the writer/director/star of the film rejected a $20 million offer from Netflix and accepted a $17.5 million offer from Fox Searchlight a more independent distribution branch of 20th Century Fox. There are three points of note from this purchase:
With the 2015 Oscars in the books, there are lessons that African-Americans and African-American filmmakers can take away from Selma only winning Best Song. When the nominations were announced and David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay were considered “snubbed” for Best Actor and Best Director respectively, social media hashtags (i.e. #OscarsSoWhite) and claims of protests rained from the heavens for a lack of diversity. Even though the Duverney film received plenty of critical acclaim, its downfall with the Academy was the last-minute screeners.