Two months after his slavery drama “The Birth of a Nation” rocked Sundance and was acquired by Fox Searchlight, Nate Parker will receive CinemaCon’s Breakthrough Director of the Year Award at the annual NATO convention next month, it was announced Monday.
“Following its Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Nate Parker’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ will surely bring movie-going audiences to their feet when it is released October 7th,” said Mitch Neuhauser, managing director of CinemaCon. “A pure labor of love and a film that shows the true passion necessary to craft it, we are honored to present such an outstanding filmmaker with this year’s CinemaCon Breakthrough Director of the Year Award.”
Written, directed and produced by Parker, “The Birth of a Nation,” follows Nat Turner (Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities — against himself and his fellow slaves — Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.
Parker has received three NAACP Image Award nominations for his performances in “Beyond the Lights,” “The Great Debaters” and “The Secret Life of Bees.” He also co-starred in “Red Tails,” “Arbitrage,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and Spike Lee‘s “Red Hook Summer.”
In addition to his feature film credits, Parker has written and directed multiple shorts including “#AmeriCan,” which won the Black Reel Award for Outstanding Independent Short.
CinemaCon will be held April 11-14 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Parker will be presented with his special honor at the “CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards” ceremony on April 14.