*Wiley College served as the backdrop for Nate Parker’s starring role in the Denzel Washington-directed 2007 “The Great Debaters.” Soon, it will house a new film and drama school in Parker’s name.
On Saturday, the “Birth of a Nation” director announced the Fall 2016 launch of the Nate Parker School of Film and Drama at the historically black college in East Texas. Parker also now serves on the college’s board of trustees.
Thirty high school and college students will participate in the nine-day summer program, and Wiley College seniors have already been selected to join Parker’s new school as staff.
“The hope is that we cover all aspects of filmmaking, from sound, lighting and cinematography, to just studying film specifically with the cultural component and the history of film,” said Parker to 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.”
The new endeavor comes after Parker starred in, wrote and directed Sundance hit “The Birth of a Nation,” which features an a capella group from Wiley College on the film’s soundtrack.
“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,” said Parker.