'Birth of a Nation' Lands Nationwide Fall Release Date

The Birth of a Nation still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Nate Parker's slave-rebellion drama will open in theaters in the heart of awards season.

Next year's awards race is already shaping up.

Fox Searchlight has set an Oct. 7 release date for 2016 Sundance Film Festival sensation The Birth of a Nation. Searchlight will open the film nationwide, versus a platform release.

Nate Parker wrote, directed and stars in the drama, which is based on the story of Nat Turner, an American-born slave who led the most successful slave rebellion in American history

Other castmembers include Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Boone Jr., Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith and Gabrielle Union.

Birth of a Nation — premiering at Sundance in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy — sparked a fierce bidding war that culminated with Fox Searchlight and parent studio Fox paying $17.5 million for worldwide rights to the pic.

The October release calendar is already crowded. Films set to open opposite Birth of a Nation on Oct. 7 include The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck; The Girl on the Train, based on the acclaimed novel; and Gambit.

As The Hollywood Reporter previously reported, Parker quit acting for nearly two years to work on getting financing for Birth. Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert, and Preston L. Holmes produced the pic, with David S. Goyer, Michael Novogratz, Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Jason Cloth, Jane Oster, Barb Lee, Carl H. Lindner III, Derrick Brooks, Jill and Ryan Ahrens, Armin Tehrany and Mark Moran acting as executive producers.