Rising High School Seniors, University-level students may now begin applying to the Summer Film Institute
New Wiley College board trustee Nate Parker has announced plans to launch the Nate Parker School of Film, Drama and Theatre in Fall 2016 and the Nate Parker Summer Film Institute scheduled for July 8-17, 2016, at Wiley College. Parker made the announcement while presenting at the Founders Gala celebration on March 19. Parker is determined to birth a nation of culturally focused storytellers and filmmakers from right here at Wiley College.
Speaking before alumni, students, faculty, and friends of the College at the gala, Parker told Wiley’s President, Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, ” You have opened your arms to me like a son.” And to show his gratitude to Dr. Strickland, he will always give back to Wiley.
The Nate Parker Foundation senior staff is tasked with leveraging film and philanthropy to transform the quality of Black lives through education, cultural enrichment, social justice and economic empowerment. In partnership with Wiley College, Parker’s Foundation has created comprehensive curricula to prepare the next generation of actors, filmmakers, and writers. The Foundation’s aim is to attract students, faculty, and staff from across the world and serve as a model for Historically Black Colleges and Universities in cultivating talent, creativity and service through the Arts.
Parker made history at the Sundance Film Festival with his directorial debut, “Birth of a Nation,” which won the festival’s Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize. As a result, Fox Searchlight acquired the film for a record-setting $17.5 million. True to his word to Dr. Strickland, Parker and a film crew spent two days in November at the Wiley College chapel with choral director Stephen L. Hayes and the A Cappella choir recording the atmospheric music for the Birth of a Nation soundtrack.
Parker’s relationship with Wiley College dates back to 2007 when he was in East Texas, on Wiley’s campus, taping scenes for the movie “The Great Debaters,” in which Parker played the supporting role of real life student-debater Henry Heights. The actor explains that he “made a commitment to leverage [his] celebrity to advance Wiley College and transform the lives of Wiley’s students.”
Like two-time Oscar Award-winner Denzel Washington, who directed and starred in “The Great Debaters,” Parker has also maintained a connection to Wiley over the years. He has spoken at commencement, served as a judge for a College debate, recorded a “Why Wiley” promotional video, as well as given guidance, support, grants, and words of encouragement to Wiley’s students.
“I kind of crossed a threshold when I first came here,” said Parker. “I came here wanting to be a good actor, and I left wanting to do good for others.”
While general enrollment at the College for Fall 2016 is now open, specific details about the film program will be available on Wiley’s website at www.wileyc.edu beginning April 15. Rising High School Seniors and University-level students may now begin applying to the Summer Film Institute via the Wiley College website.
About Wiley College
Wiley College is a private institution of higher learning affiliated with The United Methodist Church and the United Negro College Fund. Founded by the Freedman’s Aid Society in 1873 to train teachers for careers in African-American elementary and secondary schools, Wiley now has a focused curriculum that includes fifteen distinct degree programs.