'The Birth of a Nation' stars say film 'investigates history'

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- At Wednesday's premiere of "The Birth of a Nation," the stars involved saw a correlation between American oppression in the 1800s and what's happening on America's streets today.

The film is based on the true story of Nat Turner, a slave and a preacher who orchestrated an uprising in the name of freedom for all slaves.

Director and star Nate Parker has been in the headlines recently over a rape case from his college days. He was acquitted of the crime and is committed to this movie.

Parker spent eight years getting the film made, and the timing of its release during these tumultuous times is not lost on him.

"The fact that this film speaks to a time where the last 48 hours have been very difficult for this country, and we can go into this film and come out, hopefully, with a bit of perspective and context as to how we can create solutions moving forward," Parker said.

Actress Gabrielle Union said the film offers more than we expect.

"It's not a movie, it's a movement. And when you see the audience's reaction, like, the conversations are literally happening in their seats as the credits roll with tears rolling down their faces, it's powerful," she said.

Actor Colman Domingo, who plays Hark Turner in the film, agrees many people in today's society may be able to use the film as a tool.

"It can be used as a tool to interrogate, investigate history, especially with what we're dealing with now, with so much civil and racial unrest in America," he said.

Parker said more than 400 people worked on the film, and they all did it for scale.

"The Birth of a Nation" will be in theaters Oct. 7.
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