In a deal Variety is reporting as the ā€œrichestā€ in the history of the Sundance Film Festival, The Birth of a Nation has been purchased by Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million. The film, written and directed by Nate Parker (star of 2014's underseen but excellent Beyond the Lights), tells the story of Nat Turnerā€™s 1831 slave rebellion, and received near unanimous praise after its Monday premiere.

After a lengthy bidding war (thereā€™s always at least one of those during Sundance), Fox Searchlight beat out offers from The Weinstein Company, Sony, and Netflixā€”whose $20M offer would have presumably allowed the film to debut on their streaming service.

The film, which shares a title with the notoriously racist silent film by D.W. Griffith, has been described by critics as ā€œa biographical drama steeped equally in grace and horror...that grapples fearlessly with the intense spiritual convictions that drove Turner to do what he had previously considered unthinkable.ā€

As Deadline and others reported, the movie ā€œhad audience members crying in their seats and jumping to their feet in a prolonged standing ovation at the filmā€™s conclusion.ā€

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Image via the Sundance Institute.