Actor Nate Parker Launches Film School at Wiley College

Actor Nate Parker, best known for his work in movies Red Tails, The Great Debaters, and The Birth of a Nation, has started a new film school at Wiley College, a Historically Black College and University.

The name of the program will be the Nate Parker School of Film and Drama and will open this fall.

Parker launched the school to increase opportunities for persons of color, specifically black people, who are interested in working in film. Parker said that that he wants the new school to cover everything involved in the filmmaking process including sound and lighting.

Familiar with Wiley College, Parker filmed the move The Great Debaters with actors Denzel Washington and Jurnee Smollett-Bell there nearly 10 years ago.

In addition to creating the new school, Parker recently sold his newest and latest independent  project, The Birth of a Nation, to Fox Searchlight for nearly $18 million.

The movie is based on Nate Turner’s slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831. Parker directs and stars in the film about Turner. Still in production, The Birth of a Nation has a scheduled release date of October 7th, 2016.

The good news continues for Wiley as the state of Texas honored the school with three historical markers. Professor H.B. Pemberton, Matthew W. Dogan, and the man responsible for coaching the debate team known as the “Great Debators, professor Melvin B. Tolson.

Between Parker starting a new film school at Wiley, and three figures who were vital to the success of the school, history continues to be made at Wiley College.

With varying news about the health and viability of HBCUs, Wiley College’s ability to remain innovative while attracting new talent is important and worth celebrating. This shows just how much America, and black students, need HBCUs — for new opportunities like the new one that Nate Parker is creating on the campus of Wiley College.

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