Nate Parker’s American Skin is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival and his supporters are asking audiences to give him another chance.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, in this follow-up to his 2016 directorial debut, The Birth of a Nation, Parker both directs and stars in the drama about an Iraq War vet whose son is shot and killed by a police officer.
Although Parker’s last film was initially expected to be a massive hit, the trajectory of his career was deeply and adversely affected by rape claims that resurfaced right during the height of the #MeToo movement.
Now, Tarak Ben Ammar and Mark Burg the two producers bankrolling this latest project, are hoping that the public is ready to reconsider their stance on the controversial writer-director.
“We have to assume facts: One, he was acquitted and is innocent. Two, he’s a great film director and [American Skin] is a great movie,” says Ammar, whose producer credits include 2007’s Hannibal Rising. It’s also worth noting that his company, Quinta Communications, distributed Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ in France., so he is no stranger to dealing with filmmakers steeped in scandal.
“If you look at it, in a racist world, how was a 19-year-old scholarship student, represented by a public defender who wanted nothing to do with the case, acquitted by [a jury] if they really thought he was guilty?” argues Burg.
“It’s only by the grace of God that Nate Parker didn’t get lynched [or] end up spending time in jail. Nobody wants to write that there was a woman who lied [about] what happened that night. With Nate Parker, the truth came out. And yet America still wants to say, ‘Well, that’s not good enough. You weren’t sorry.’ Well guess what. Somebody tries to throw my ass in jail for 20 years, I may not be sorry either.”
Burg adds by pointing out that he believes “everyone in America” deserves an opportunity to make a comeback, stating, “There are people on the streets that have murdered people. They do their time, they get out, and guess what — they deserve a second chance. Why is it that Hollywood doesn’t think Nate Parker deserves a second chance?”