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IndieWire’s Movie Podcast: Screen Talk (111): How ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Scandal Could Impact Its Oscar Odds

Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson discuss why director's past could haunt his film's awards season plans. Plus: Two new releases worth your time.

“The Birth of a Nation”

Fox Searchlight

Ever since “The Birth of a Nation” became a sensation at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, it has been discussed as a major awards season player. But recent headlines surrounding writer-director-star Nate Parker’s past — a college rape trial and the subsequent suicide of the woman who accused Parker of sexual abuse — have complicated anticipation of the film even before its fall season debut. However, the inspirational story of “Birth of a Nation,” which tracks Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion, isn’t the same thing as Parker’s past. Is it fair to pre-judge the movie based on the actions of its director?

That’s the starting point for this week’s episode of Screen Talk, in which Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson debate a touchy subject and its potential impact as the awards season begins to take shape.

Plus: Two new releases and why you should go see them this weekend.

Listen to the full episode above.

Screen Talk is available on iTunes. You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with Thompson and Kohn on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Browse previous installments here, review the show on and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.

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Comments

Boycott this film

Why gloss over the fact that it’s not just the director? His co-screenwriter was actually convicted of rape and it was only overturned due to a technicality. He would have been convicted a second time if the victim hadn’t been intimidated into refusing to go thru another trial. There is no excuse for these men and the end does not justify the means, as far as the film goes. I will never pay money to see it and neither will millions of other people. “I cannot value a movie, no matter how good or “important” it might be, over the dignity of a woman whose story should be seen as just as important, a woman who is no longer alive to speak for herself, or benefit from any measure of justice. No amount of empathy could make that possible.” –Roxane Gay

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