'Birth of a Nation' Teaser Trailer Debuts Online

The preview offers the first extended look at the Sundance sensation that's already generating awards buzz.

The first teaser trailer for Fox Searchlight's high-profile Sundance acquisition Birth of a Nation debuted online on Friday.

The Nate Parker-directed, -written, -produced and -starring film about Nat Turner's slave uprising is already generating awards buzz.

Parker, who quit acting for nearly two years to make his passion project a reality, plays Turner in the film about the slave-led 1831 rebellion in Southampton County, Va. The teaser trailer begins with eerily calm images of Turner, a literate slave and preacher, staring at a cross and leading his owner's family in prayer.

In the movie, Turner's financially strained owner (Armie Hammer) accepts an offer to use Turner's preaching to subdue unruly slaves. But as Turner witnesses numerous atrocities, he orchestrates an uprising designed to lead his people to freedom.

The teaser features Turner being presented to a group of slaves, who are told to "listen to him and you might just make it into heaven."

He tells them, "Submit yourselves to your masters with all respect."

Later, though, Turner is shown addressing a handful of slaves as his speech to them is intercut with scenes of him running and leading a torch-wielding group.

"Brethren, I pray, you sing a new song," Turner says. "Sing praise in assembly of the righteous. Let the saints be joyful in glory. Let the high praise of God be on the mouths of the saints and a two-edged sword in their hand to execute vengeance on the demonic nations and punishment on those peoples … Praise the lord, praise the lord, sing to him a new song."

The Birth of a Nation premiered at Sundance, where it received an extended standing ovation and mostly enthusiastic reviews before Fox Searchlight acquired worldwide rights to the film for a record $17.5 million. The movie also won the Grand Jury and Audience awards at Sundance.

Searchlight is set to release the film — which also features Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union and How to Get Away With Murder's Aja Naomi King — nationwide on Oct. 7.