Thursday, October 27, 2016
  • Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016
Fox Searchlight acquires Sundance hit "The Birth of a Nation"
Nate Parker, left, the director, star and producer of "The Birth of a Nation," poses with singer Maxwell at the premiere of the film at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
  • PARK CITY, Utah (AP)
  • --

Fox Searchlight Pictures won a bidding war at the Sundance Film Festival for "The Birth of a Nation," paying a record-setting $17.5 million for the film's worldwide distribution rights.

The studio announced the deal Tuesday after the film premiered to a standing ovation a day earlier.

It tells the true story of Nat Turner, a slave who taught himself to read and became a preacher before ultimately leading a deadly rebellion that wiped out 60 slave owners.

Fox Searchlight did not disclose the amount of its winning bid, reported to be $17.5 million. Past high-priced titles such as 2013's "The Way, Way Back" and 2006's "Little Miss Sunshine" topped out in the $10-12 million range.

Writer, director, producer and star Nate Parker spent seven years making the film he described as a passion project he hopes will serve as a "healing mechanism for America."

Fox Searchlight says it will release "The Birth of a Nation" later this year.