Birth of a Nation: Fox Searchlight plans in-theater voter registration
Fox Searchlight is urging moviegoers to vote during the upcoming presidential election, announcing Monday it will spearhead a new in-theater voter registration initiative tied to the release of Nate Parker’s upcoming historical drama The Birth of a Nation.
In support of National Voter Registration Day, Fox Searchlight has partnered with various theater chains that will hold voter enrollment in their lobbies prior to promotional screenings of The Birth of a Nation on Tuesday. Audiences will also be able to register to vote at participating theaters across The Birth of a Nation‘s opening weekend in wide release between Oct. 7-9.
The studio has partnered with the cast (including Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King and Gabrielle Union) and director (Parker) of the Sundance acquisition title to produce a PSA aimed at raising awareness about the importance of American citizens exercising their right to vote. It will screen before advance screenings of The Birth of a Nation on Tuesday.
“No one has the right to prevent you from participating in what makes America’s democracy so great: the right to vote,” Parker says in the clip. Union adds: “You matter. Your voice matters. Your vote matters.”
According to a press release, Fox Searchlight’s objective with the campaign is to “encourage everyone to be a part of U.S. history by highlighting everyone’s right to vote, encouraging registration and underscoring that their voices and opinions matter.”
In the announcement, the studio indicates that 20 percent of all U.S. citizens who can legally vote are often impeded by technical roadblocks as they attempt to register. Fox also says several current laws lack the protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, federal legislation which prohibits racial discrimination in the voting process; it essentially guaranteed people of color the right to vote when it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the Civil Rights Movement.
The Birth of a Nation, which Fox Searchlight purchased out of the Sundance Film Festival in January for a record $17.5 million, revolves around the real-life story of Nat Turner, a preacher and slave in the antebellum South who staged an uprising against his oppressors.
Fox Searchlight will open The Birth of a Nation nationwide on Oct. 7. Theater chains and individual locations participating in Fox’s voter registration initiative are as follows:
Bow Tie Cinemas
The Grand Theatres
Glenwood Arts Theatre – Overland Park, KS
Michigan Theater – Ann Arbor, MI
Little Theatre – Rochester, NY
Tower City Cinemas – Cleveland, OH
Cedar Lee Theatre – Cleveland Heights, OH
The Neon – Dayton, OH
Bryn Mawr Film Institute – Bryn Mawr, PA
Midtown Cinema – Harrisburg, PA
Cinema Arts Theatre – Fairfax, VA