Nate Parker’s “American Skin” has been added to the Venice Film Festival lineup in the fest’s Sconfini section.
The film, about a black Iraq War veteran who seeks justice for his son killed in a shooting, is the first feature from Parker since his 2016 slavery drama “The Birth of a Nation.”
Parker wrote, directed and stars in the L.A.-set film, which addresses timely subjects like police violence and enduring racism in American society. Co-stars include Omari Hardwick (“Power”), Theo Rossi (“Sons of Anarchy)” and Beau Knapp (“Southpaw”).
Parker plays U.S. Marine veteran Lincoln Jefferson who is working as a janitor at a prestigious California junior high school in California and trying to mend his relationship with his son after his divorce.
When his son is killed during a routine police check, the officer who shot him is declared innocent without having to face trial. Disheartened for having been denied due process, Lincoln takes the entire police station hostage and stages his own trial in which the members of the jury are the inmates and common people.
Mark Burg, Tarak Ben Ammar and Lukas Behnken produced the film, Parker’s first since “The Birth of a Nation” won the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize in Sundance. The film’s release that fall was muted after rape accusations dating from Parker’s college days resurfaced; Parker had been acquitted of criminal charges in 1999.
Spike Lee, who plans to attend the festival’s premiere, offered his praise for the film. “My brother, Nate Parker, has concocted a BRAVE TOUR DE FORCE. I haven’t been affected by a film like this on so many levels in a long, long time,” he said in a statement. “It is my hope and prayer that the movie audience will understand this battle between LOVE and HATE, which has divided our world. Bravo Nate, Bravo.”
The Venice festival also added Graeme A. Scott and Buddy Squires’ documentary “Beyond the Beach: The Hell And the Hope” to the Sconfini section.
The Venice Film Festival runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.