'The Birth of a Nation' Trailer Provides a First Look at One of the Frontrunners for the 2017 Oscars

by John Boone 12:45 PM PDT, April 15, 2016
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

This is the movie to watch out for.

The Birth of a Nation -- one of our most anticipated movies at Sundance this year -- dominated the film festival, winning the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize and setting a new record for the largest deal out of the fest when it was sold to Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million. Next stop? Next year's Oscars, probably!

Until then, check out the trailer for your first look at the intense drama:

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The film was directed by, written by and stars Beyond the Lights actor Nate Parker as Nat Turner and co-stars Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union, How to Get Away With Murder's Aja Naomi King and Jackie Earle Haley.

Here's the official description:

Set against the antebellum South, 'The Birth of a Nation' follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, 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 and uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

ET recently caught up with Jayson Warner Smith, who plays Earl Fowler in Birth of a Nation, at the premiere of The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and asked why smaller indies are so important.

"I wish this was all the films that were being made. We love to work on the big blockbusters, because they have great big paychecks that come with them, but these are the ones that are fun," he explained. "These are the ones you become part of a family. You're there together, you're in the trenches together, it's a small crew, it's a small budget...There's no laying around the trailer and parties. None of that."

The Birth of a Nation hits theaters on Oct. 7.

In other movie news, get an exclusive first look at Emma Watson coming face-to-face with a creepy cult leader in the chilling drama, Colonia, in the video below.