Sundance: 'Birth of a Nation' sets record with $17.5M sale to Fox Searchlight

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'The Birth of a Nation' Sets $17.5 Million Selling Sundance Record

Worldwide rights to slave rebellion drama The Birth of a Nation, which premiered Monday afternoon in Park City to multiple standing ovations,have been picked up by Fox Searchlight at the Sundance Film Festival for $17.5 million, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed.

Searchlight beat escalating bids from Weinstein Co, Netflix (which insisted on a day-and-date theatrical and streaming debut), Paramount and other suitors. Several films have reached $10 million at the festival, including Manchester by the Sea (bought by Amazon earlier this week) and The Way, Way Back (by Searchlight in 2013).

While it's the highest price paid for a film at Sundance, it's not the most ever shelled out at a festival. Two Cannes titles, Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals and Denis Villenueve's Story of Your Life both went for $20 million, and those films were not made yet.

Nate Parker wrote, directed and stars in the project, which is based on the story Nat Turner, an American-born slave who led the most successful slave rebellion in American history.

See photos of celebs at this year's Sundance Film Festival:

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Sundance: 'Birth of a Nation' sets record with $17.5M sale to Fox Searchlight
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Kristen Stewart attends the 'Certain Women' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
Actor John Krasinski walks in Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah, January 24, 2016. / AFP / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Model Chrissy Teigen (L) and musician John Legend attend 'Southside With You' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: Actress Kate Beckinsale attends the 'Love & Friendship' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 23, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Jena Malone attends the Eddie Bauer Adventure House during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Village at The Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Eddie Bauer)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan and actor Nick Hamilton attend the EcoLuxe Lounge at Sundance16 on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for EcoLuxe)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: TV personality Jill Zarin attends the EcoLuxe Lounge at Sundance16 on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for EcoLuxe)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: (L-R) James Jordan, Sara Rodier, Jared Harris, James Le Gros, Kristen Stewart, Kelly Reichardt and Lily Gladstone attend the 'Certain Women' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Justin Long attends the Eddie Bauer Adventure House during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Village at The Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Eddie Bauer)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Ellen Page is seen around town at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Jared Harris attends the 'Certain Women' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor James Le Gros attends the 'Certain Women' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Kristen Stewart and director Kelly Reichardt attend the 'Certain Women' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Jared Harris attends the 'Certain Women' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
Actor Thomas Middleditch walks in Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah, January 24, 2016. / AFP / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim attends the We are UK Film Party at Sundance 2016 on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for British Film Commission)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: DJ Questlove attends Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown To Off The Wall' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at The Marc Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Kim Raff/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Director Spike Lee attends Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown To Off The Wall' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at The Marc Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Kim Raff/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Director/actor John Krasinski (C) attends Applegate's 'Reel Food' Cafe featuring Wholly Guacamole during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at The Village at the Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Applegate)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Missi Pyle is seen during the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jason Merritt/GC Images,)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Riley Keough attends Applegate's 'Reel Food' Cafe featuring Wholly Guacamole during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at The Village at the Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Applegate)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Sara Rodier attends the 'Certain Women' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor/comedian Gilbert Gottfried attends Applegate's 'Reel Food' Cafe featuring Wholly Guacamole during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at The Village at the Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Applegate)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Courtney Sixx attends the EcoLuxe Lounge at Sundance16 on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for EcoLuxe)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Ethan DeLorenzo and actress Jena Malone are seen during the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jason Merritt/GC Images,)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Dallas Bryce Howard (L) and Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper attend 'Southside With You' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Parker Sawyers, Richard Tanne, Tika Sumpter and John Legend attend 'Southside With You' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Charlie Day attends Applegate's 'Reel Food' Cafe featuring Wholly Guacamole during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at The Village at the Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Applegate)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Model/actress Brooklyn Decker attends Applegate's 'Reel Food' Cafe featuring Wholly Guacamole during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at The Village at the Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Applegate)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Writer Norman Lear (L) attends Applegate's 'Reel Food' Cafe featuring Wholly Guacamole during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at The Village at the Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Applegate)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Nurgaiv Rys, Aisholpan Nurgaiv and Almagul Kuksygyen attend the 'Eagle Huntress' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Producer Stacy Reiss attends the 'Eagle Huntress' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 23: Actor Jesse Metcalfe and Cara Santana are seen on January 23, 2016 at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JMA/Star Max/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Lily Gladstone attends the 'Certain Women' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Director Richard Tanne speaks on stage during the 'Southside With You' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Chrissy Teigen, Mike Jackson, John Legend attend 'Southside With You' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Donovan Leitch Jr. (L) and musician Yoshiki attend the Eddie Bauer Adventure House during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Village at The Lift on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Eddie Bauer)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Adrian Grenier is seen during the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jason Merritt/GC Images,)
PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 23: Actress Allison Janney is seen on January 23, 2016 at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JMA/Star Max/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actors Casey Affleck and Riley Keough are seen during the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jason Merritt/GC Images,)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Morgan Spurlock attends the 'Eagle Huntress' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 23: Actor Harry Hamlin is seen on January 23, 2016 at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JMA/Star Max/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway attends the 'Southside With You' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Bryce Dallas Howard attends the 'Southside With You' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Songwriter Beth Goldwater attends the 'Film Hawk' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor John Krasinski is seen around town at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Charlie Day is seen around town at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Barry Keoghan attends the 'Mammal' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Library Center Theater on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Sharlto Copley is seen around town at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Rachel Griffiths attends the 'Mammal' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Library Center Theater on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actor Nick Kroll is seen during the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jason Merritt/GC Images,)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: (L - R) Todd Allen, Global Vice President, Stella Artois, Water.org Co-Founders Matt Damon and Gary White, and Sean Bailey, Sundance Institute Board member participated in a panel session hosted by Stella Artois on January 23, 2016 in Park City, Utah, regarding the current global water crisis and what needs to be done to end the long water collection journeys many women in developing countries have to make each day. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Stella Artois)
PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 23: Singer Josh Groban is seen on January 23, 2016 at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JMA/Star Max/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 23: Singer Joe Jonas is seen on January 23, 2016 at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JMA/Star Max/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: Actress Angelique Cooper and Per Wickstrom attend EcoLuxe Lounge at Sundance16 - Day 1 - 2016 Park City on January 23, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for EcoLuxe)
PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 23: Kendra Wilkinson is seen on January 23, 2016 at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JMA/Star Max/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 23: Singer John Legend is seen on January 23, 2016 at The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JMA/Star Max/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: Actress Kate Beckinsale attends the 'Love & Friendship' Premiere during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 23, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: Nathalie Emmanuel is seen around town during the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23: Diane Ladd is seen around town during the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
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Read More: 'The Birth of a Nation': Sundance Review

When the film premiered Monday at Eccles theater, there was a standing ovation that lasted throughout the entire credits. It continued as Parker, who also produced the film, took the stage for the Q&A.

"I made this film for one reason, with the hope of creating change agents. That people can watch this film and be affected. That you can watch this film and see that there were systems that were in place that were corrupt and corrupted people and the legacy of that still lives with us," said Parker to the audience. "I just want you, if you are affected and you are so moved, to ask yourself, 'Are there systems in my life that need attention whether it be racial, gender?' There are a lot of injustices."

Soon after, several buyers were in the mix, with expectations that the bidding could likely go up to be the highest of this year's fest. A heated bidding war went on through the night with at least 7 interested parties, including several studios.

As THR previously reported, Parker quit acting for nearly two years to work on getting financing for the film, which also stars Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley and Gabrielle Union.

Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert, and Preston L. Holmes produced The Birth of a Nation with David S. Goyer, Michael Novogratz, Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Jason Cloth, Jane Oster, Barb Lee, Carl H. Lindner III, Derrick Brooks, Jill and Ryan Ahrens, Armin Tehrany, and Mark Moran acting as executive producers.


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