Talk about a full circle moment. Nine years after Nate Parker portrayed “Henry Lowe” in “The Great Debaters,” the actor and director has returned to the East Texas college where it was set to create a new program that will help other people of color tell their stories via film.
On Sunday (March 20), Parker announced the Nate Parker School of Film and Drama, which will launch this fall at Wiley College, an historically Black college or university (HBCU).
“If I can create a pipeline toward filmmaking physically through developing the college, having filmmakers be nurtured and cultivated here, and then having somewhere for them to go with respect for them actually being able to engage in filmmaking here in East Texas, then it kind of serves multiple purposes,” Parker told local station KLTV. “You control the moving picture, you control the masses. So really getting them rallied around the idea of reclaiming the narrative of America, specifically through the eyes of people of color.”
Though classes won’t officially start until this fall, the school will host a nine-day summer institute with about 30 high school and college students. Parker has also joined the college’s board of trustees, and local station KLTV reports that he even used the Marshall, Texas, institution’s a capella choir on the soundtrack for his Sundance recordbreaking film “The Birth of a Nation.”