Nate Parker to debut new film at Venice Film Festival

Entertainment
Nate Parker

FILE – This Sept. 21, 2016 file photo shows Nate Parker, the director, screenwriter and star of “The Birth of a Nation” at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles. Parker will premiere his new film “American Skin” at the Venice Film Festival, his first film since a past rape allegation derailed the release of his Nat Turner biopic “The Birth of a Nation.” (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nate Parker’s attempted comeback will begin at the Venice Film Festival with the premiere of his first film since a rape allegation from Parker’s past derailed the release of his Nat Turner biopic “The Birth of a Nation.”

The Venice Film Festival announced Wednesday that Parker’s “American Skin” will debut in its “Sconfini” section. Parker’s new film also carries Spike Lee’s backing. “American Skin” is touted as a Spike Lee presentation. In a statement, Lee called Parker his brother and declared the film “a brave tour de force.”

Parker has been little heard from since his breakthrough as writer-director-star in 2016. After the lauded debut of “The Birth of a Nation” at the Sundance Film Festival fetched a record $17.5 million purchase, the newfound attention around Parker resurrected a 1999 rape allegation against him from when he was a student at Penn State University.

Parker has maintained his innocence. He was acquitted in a 2001 trial, though his college roommate, Jean Celestin (who helped create “The Birth of a Nation”), was initially found guilty of sexual assault. That conviction was later overturned when the accuser declined to testify for a retrial. The alleged victim killed herself in 2012.

“The Birth of a Nation” ultimately made little impact at the box office and its once promising Oscar campaign fizzled. Whether the reception will be any better for Parker’s latest film remains to be seen. In the time since, the #MeToo movement has swept over the movie industry, putting new scrutiny on men accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“American Skin,” which Parker wrote, directed and stars in, is about a black Iraq War veteran seeking justice for the shooting death of his teenage son by a white police officer. It co-stars Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi and Beau Knapp.

The Venice Film Festival opens August 28.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.