Hollywood makes its way to East Texas with Nate Parker Film Institute

Hollywood makes its way to East Texas with Nate Parker Film Institute

MARSHALL, TX (KLTV) - Lights, camera, action! Hollywood has made its way to East Texas, and this time it's in the form of a film institute.

Actor and director Nate Parker is hosting his third annual Summer Film Institute this week at Wiley College in Marshall.

The week-long intensive program is designed for students to be taught by some of the top scholars among black history and film professionals, according the Nate Parker Foundation.

Shanelle Gaddis of Alto is one of the 30 students who were selected to participate in the program.

"When my name was called, I mean, I cried instantly, like on spot. I'm just overwhelmed," said Gaddis. "Being from a small town, I really didn't have that many outlets and guidance as far as film. But I knew that I could gain more experience in the Nate Parker Foundation and I believe I made the right decision."

Dahyo Coleman of New Jersey said the institute is nothing like she expected.

"Coming here, I was completely blown away. I had no idea that this is what I would be walking into. It's not just your regular film program that you see. You learn how to use a camera and stuff like that, but it teaches you about self and self-awareness, especially as an African American," said Coleman.

The founder of the institute, Hollywood star and director Nate Parker, says the film institute is all about learning and growing.

"The first two days are all about identity, building self-esteem, black identity, knowledge of self,  knowledge of our position, and narrative of story telling. We ask them to show us different people who have contributed, and then once we feel that they have a culturally responsive education, then we introduce them to the film dynamic," said Parker.

The film star says one of the reasons he chose to bring this program to Wiley College was his role in the film "The Great Debaters."

"To be able to do the great debaters and film it here on this campus, to be able to do it alongside of Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, to really engage with the community and see their love for the students here, it made it easy," said Parker.

Parker's acting coach Cary Anderson says in the last three years he has seen the institute grow and said "it's incredible."

"We're all on Facebook together and you get to see their success stories," said Anderson.

Shawn Antoine II is one of those students.

Antoine was one of the inaugural members of the institute who has since produced his own film entitled "Showtime." Antoine says the institute instilled in him a sense of pride and fearlessness.

"It opened so many doors for me and allowed me to meet so many other creators; it taught me how great I could be," said Antoine.

Parker is also on the board of trustees at Wiley.

"We're working to bring an accredited 4-year program here to the school soon. So straight from this program, if this is something you want to do, you can just enroll at Wiley, start your career there, get out in four years, hit me up, and I can help you with the next level of your career," said Parker.

Parker says there is no shortage of talent in our community, we just have to find ways to cultivate it.

If you would like to attend the screening of the students' film, "Black Bones," it will be shown Saturday around 6:30 p.m. at the Julius S.Scott, Sr. Chapel at Wiley College. The event is free and open to the public.

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