Nate Parker has announced the launch of his own film school at Wiley College, the historically black Texas school prominently featured in the 2007 movie The Great Debaters. "The hope is that we cover all aspects of filmmaking," Parker said in a statement obtained by KLTV. The Nate Parker School of Film and Drama will officially open for registration this fall.
According to Parker, the new school's main goal is to provide a platform from which prospective filmmakers may better explore and nourish their creativity. "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 KLTV, noting that he planned to be actively engaged with the school's activities.
Parker, who starred in the Denzel Washington-directed Great Debaters as Henry Lowe, is currently receiving widespread critical acclaim for The Birth of a Nation. The film, a period piece centered on the life of Nat Turner, wowed audiences at this year's Sundance Film Festival before securing a hefty global rights deal with Fox Searchlight.
Though the first classes at Wiley's Nate Parker School of Film and Drama don't kick off until much later this year, an intensive summer program is currently being planned. 30 high school and college students will take part in a nine-day session, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Wiley has also already chosen several of its own seniors to join the film school's staff.