Never mind the cross-fire over a past rape charge against, and acquittal of, director-star Nate Parker; Fox Searchlight is turning up the heat under his film The Birth Of A Nation, with a high-powered guest list for its Los Angeles premiere at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood on Wednesday. Atop the list, with Parker and his cast, is Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of News Corp. and the son of Rupert Murdoch. The elder Murdoch is not on a guest list circulated by Fox; but Lachlan will join Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley, the co-presidents of Fox Searchlight, who are just back from the Toronto International Film Festival, where they saw the movie through a series of presentations.

Parker will be flanked not just by his co-stars, including Armie Hammer and Aja Naomi King, but also by a large contingent of Hollywood actor and filmmakers, including Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Alfre Woodard, and George Tillman Jr.

The list carries a message: Fox Searchlight, and much of the Hollywood community, is still behind Parker and his film, with its message about racial oppression. The Birth Of A Nation, about the Nat Turner slave revolt, is set to open on Oct. 7