Speaking to TMZ today, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs responded to the ongoing controversy surrounding “The Birth of a Nation” writer/director/star Nate Parker’s 1999 rape trial. Isaacs calls the movie, which premiered at Sundance to strong reviews and a record-breaking $17.5 million acquisition deal with Fox Searchlight, one that “people need to see.”
“I know just by the conversation that has gone on at Sundance that it’s clearly a movie that filmgoers should go and see,” she adds. Parker and his co-writer Jean Celestin were accused of raping a fellow student while at Penn State; Parker was acquitted and Celestin was found guilty, but his conviction was later overturned. News of the trial recently resurfaced, as did the fact that Parker’s accuser committed suicide in 2012.
“The important thing is for people to see it and enjoy the film, be impressed by the film,” Isaacs continues. “And I think that is what is very important. People need to see this movie.” See the full exchange here.