Nate Parker to Open Film School at 'Great Debaters' College

Nate Parker - H 2015
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Nate Parker - H 2015

Wiley College served as the backdrop for Parker's starring role in the Denzel Washington-directed 2007 film.

The Birth of a Nation helmer Nate Parker has announced the launch of a new film and drama school in his name at Wiley College. The historically black college in East Texas once served as the backdrop of the Denzel Washington-directed 2007 film The Great Debaters, which starred Parker. 

"Thrilled to announce the Birth of the @NateParker School of Film and Drama at @WileyCollege launching Fall 2016. Cultivating #NewVoices," tweeted Parker on Saturday after Wiley College announced the news. Parker also now serves on the college's board of trustees.

The Nate Parker School of Film and Drama will open for classes in the fall, according to local ABC affiliate KLTV. Thirty high school and college students will participate in a nine-day summer program. 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.