Derrick Brooks assists 'The Birth of a Nation' at Sundance
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks keeps adding to his illustrious list of off-the-field accomplishments.
Brooks is an executive producer of Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation, the Sundance Film Festival's most acclaimed offering, already touted as a 2016 Oscar contender before the 2015 prizes are handed out.
The Birth of a Nation recounts the 1831 slave revolt in Virginia led by Nat Turner, and bloody retaliation by slave owners. Parker directed and wrote the screenplay, and stars as Turner. Parker was seen last year in the stage door romance Beyond the Lights.
The Birth of a Nation premiered Monday at Sundance, sparking a prolonged standing ovation and an immediate bidding war for worldwide distribution rights. Fox Searchlight won with a $17.5 million offer, the largest deal ever struck at Sundance.
Bron Studios' website for The Birth of a Nation lists 13 executive producers including Brooks. That is an extraordinary amount of executive producers, a credit typically going to either financiers, or magnets for others' involvement to get a production underway. ("Producers" are people overseeing the production, from budget to wrap. They're the folks talking home best picture Oscars, not executive, co-, or associate producers.)
Brooks likely wrote a check to assist Parker's budget, and his celebrity role model image as an athlete and mentor would certainly lend the production credibility. San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and retired NBA player Michael Finley have been reported as investors in the movie. Finley also helped to finance Lee Daniels' The Butler.