Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck joins Tisch staff as scholar-in-residence

March 24, 2014

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Raoul Peck, award-winning Haitian filmmaker and former minister of culture for the Republic of Haiti, has been named Tisch School of the Arts’ new scholar-in-residence.

Associate Dean of Tisch Sheril Antonio said NYU and Peck have a longstanding relationship,

“Raoul has been connected to Tisch for quite some time,” Antonio said. “He taught in our graduate film program what feels like many years ago now and Dean Campbell and I have kept in touch over the years of his distinguished career.”

Tisch Dean Mary Campbell said Christine Choy, former graduate film chair and one of Peck’s colleagues, nominated Peck for the position.

“Given his status not [only] as a filmmaker but [also] as a cultural policy maker, we believed that his presence would enrich the experience of our students and faculty,” Campbell said.

Campbell described her plans to arrange a series of events in conjunction with fellow Tisch administrators to celebrate Peck’s appointment, including an intimate faculty dinner and a public presentation in conversation with Antonio. She also hopes to arrange opportunities for Peck to participate in conversations with students in public policy and documentary classes, as well as with high school students involved in NYU’s precollege program this summer.

Tisch freshman Elizabeth Groth said she is looking forward to having the opportunity to learn from Peck and anticipates that he will be a great addition to the Tisch faculty.

“Considering the caliber of artists instructing us at Tisch, I think Raoul Peck will be a very helpful instructor,” Groth said. “All of the professors at Tisch are very impressive and established in their field and Peck will undoubtedly fit right in.”

Peck, who hails from Port-au-Prince, was raised in the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo and was educated in France, the United States and Germany. He studied industrial engineering at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

He was the first Haitian filmmaker to have his work released in American theatres with “The Man By the Shore,” which competed in the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. His work often focuses on human rights issues, such as the struggle for independence in the Belgian Congo, seen in “Lumumba,” and the Rwandan genocide, which was depicted in his film, “Sometimes in April.”

He is a recipient of the Irene Diamond Award, presented by the Human Rights Watch, for his work and has served as chairman of the board of La Fémis, the French film school, since 2010.

During his stay in New York, Peck plans to conduct research for an upcoming documentary on novelist, essayist and playwright James Baldwin. Peck will serve as Tisch’s scholar-in-residence until July, but he has offered to remain in New York City for additional discussions and seminars with students and faculty beyond his scheduled end date.

Peck said he is excited about his return to NYU, and has many plans for his six-month residency.

“I am very happy to have accepted the invitation and am really looking forward to see some of my former colleagues and former students who have become, very successful filmmakers,” Peck said. “In addition to several presentations and meetings with students and faculty, there are several ideas we are working on with Vice Provost Uli Baehr, among others a presentation on James Baldwin’s work in association with the Bill T Jones and New York Live Arts.”

Peck added he is looking forward to collaborate with Tisch students in his work.

“We are planning to select and hire NYU students to participate in some of the planned research and other activities related with the documentary on James Baldwin,” Peck said.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 24 print edition. Julianne McShane is a contributing writer. Email her at features@nyunews.com.

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