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‘Birth Of A Nation’ Receives Standing Ovation At 2016 TIFF Screening As Nate Parker Makes First Red Carpet Appearance Since Fallout


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Amid controversy surrounding Nate Parker’s rape case, the Birth of a Nation cast linked up for the first time publicly to screen the slave revolt movie at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. And they received a standing ovation for their work. Get it all inside…

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Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation was met with controversy when news of his involvement in a 17-year-old rape case resurfaced. But, the promo trail is continuing on and Nate is riding the wave.

On Friday, Nate Parker, Gabrielle Union, Aja Naomi King and the entire cast were front-and-center on the red carpet at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival for the screening of the Nate Turner slave revolt film.

This was the first time Nate made a red carpet appearance since all of the drama surrounding the rape case, that he was eventually acquitted. While he did make an appearance at the Merge Summit in L.A. a few weeks ago for a screening, this was the first time he made an appearance on the red carpet since the case resurfaced.

The 36-year-old filmmaker, who welcomed his fourth child last month, stood before the audience to introduce the film saying, “I want to thank you for your time and for coming to see our film. This film has been a labor of love for us and we are desperately proud to present it to you."

TIFF had previously postponed the screening, telling Deadline that a press session would definitely not happen. But, that wasn’t the case during Friday’s screening.

Nate participated in a post-screening Q&A where he answered several questions about the film. But, there weren’t any questions asked about the rape case.

During the Q&A, Nate talked about how inspired he was to tell a story that not many people knew about. He said,

"When I learned about him I felt like, 'Man this is someone who should be celebrated along the line of the Patrick Henrys, the Jeffersons and our forefathers. I was so inspired by his story that when I became an actor and decided I would start writing, I felt like this was a story that I felt, historically speaking, could really promote the kind of healing we need and the conversation around race.”


He did, however, avoid a question at Sunday's press conference about why he hadn't apologized to the victim's family of the woman he was accused of raping seventeen years ago.  Even though he was acquitted, the release of courtroom transcripts led many to believe he actually was guilty of.  His http://www.vulture.com/2016/09/toronto-nate-parker-avoids-apology-questi... ">answer at TIFF was more of a diversion tactic saying:


"I’ll say this," said Parker. "For one, I’ve addressed this a few times and I’m sure I’ll address it in different forums. This is a forum for the film, this is a forum for the other people who are sitting on this stage. It’s not mine. I don’t own it. It does not belong to me, so I definitely don’t want hijack it. I do want to make sure that we are honoring this film, and we’re honoring these people in front of you, before you. So respectfully, I want to say thank you again to the Toronto International Film Festival for allowing us to be here and I want to continue celebrating the people that helped make this film possible." Then, amid audible, aghast chatter, he moved on to the next question.



His beautiful co-stars Gabrielle Union and Aja Naomi King got all dressed up for the screening, looking amazing:

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Aja rocked a bold orange one-shouldered Emanuel Ungaro gown paired with Jerome C. Rousseau heels that she pulled off perfectly. Meanwhile, Gabby slayed in a floral printed Hugo Boss dress designed by Jason Wu that she accessorized with Tiffany & Co. jewels. Love both of their looks.

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When the Birth of a Nation cast assembled on stage, they were met with a long standing ovation. During the session, Gabrille, who is a rape survivor and penned a powerful op-ed piece about starring in the film amid all of the controversy, didn’t speak on the panel. However, Aja did saying she was thrilled to be apart of the film and noted how empowered she felt seeing “people that look like me standing up.”

Check out the rousing ovation below:



And here are a few shots of Gabby and Aja behind the scenes of their Vanity Fair photoshoot: 

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Birth of a Nation hits theaters October 7th.

Photos: Getty/Gabby's IG/Aja's IG/@birthofanation

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