(SAVANNAH) A local actor is hoping a small role leads to a big break in a yet to be released film that is generating a lot of buzz in the wake of the Sundance Film Festival last month. While the the 2016 Oscars are still sitting on shelves, there is already talk about “The Birth Of A Nation”as a front-runner for Oscar 2017. “Birth” is a film shot on location in Richmond Hill and Savannah and a native from the Hostess City is in the film. 46 year old Anthony Bryant says he spent weeks on-set in Savannah and Richmond Hill. Even as a background actor in the film, Bryant says the real-life history of the story line in “Birth” helped motivate the cast. Bryant says is was like a living history lesson. “It taught me a lot in terms of humility and what our forefathers, ancestors went through.” said Bryant.
“Birth,” which is based on the true story of the Nat Turner-led slave uprising in 1831 Virginia, won the audience award and the grand jury prize for the U.S. dramatic competition at Sundance. Bryant says Nate Parker, director, writer, and actor in the film, did more than just give direction from behind the camera. “He was real hands-on, real nice, real great director.” Bryant said. The mood on-set while working on the film was a real contrast to the material. There was no sense of servitude while making the movie, which wrapped location production last year in the Coastal Empire.
Fox Searchlight won the bidding war for distribution rights for the film at Sundance, putting up a festival record $17.5million for worldwide rights. The building hype for the release of “Birth” builds the Bryant’s hopes for the success of the movie when it opens. Right now, the trailer for the film has not been released, but it’s already earned a place in Sundance Film Festival history. Bryant says “Birth” will live up to the hype. ” It’s very exciting to have been a part of a historic film. It’s a compelling film and I think the public will be real excited about it when it comes out….I’ve heard rumors being out in May, so given out a little bit.” said Bryant. There is no official release date for “The Birth of a Nation”, but Bryant says he is hoping people take the time to see it when it does open to audiences in Savannah. He says the experience is a highlight of his 20 years pursuing a film career. Bryant also works as a model and personal trainer.