VENICE, Italy -- Three years ago, filmmaker Nate Parker came under scrutiny for a rape allegation from his college days that essentially derailed the release of his Nat Turner film "The Birth of a Nation." Now, with a new film about police brutality debuting at the Venice Film International Film Festival, he is apologizing for how he responded then.

"Standing here today at 39, the reality is I was quite tone deaf ... to a lot of the things that happened in the climate," Parker said at a small news conference in Venice on Sunday.

"My response obviously hurt a lot of people, frustrated and angered a lot of people and I apologize."

The film's inclusion in this year's festival, which also saw the premiere of a new Roman Polanski film, was criticized by some who saw it as incongruous with the progress that has been made in the culture in the #MeToo era. The #MeToo movement, which references a Twitter hashtag used by victims to acknowledge experiences of sexual assault and harassment, gained international momentum in October 2017 after dozens of women accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

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