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HBCU Partners with Internationally Acclaimed African Filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo

HBCU Partners with Internationally Acclaimed African Filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on August 02, 2010

Philander Smith College, a historical black college located in Little Rock, Arkansas, is partnering with African filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo through the University of Arkansas based Clinton School of Public Service starting next spring. Bekolo will use film/video as a teaching tool in an inter-disciplinary program that allows students to discover and explore their field of study working closely with a small group of specialized faculty.

An internationally acclaimed, award-winning filmmaker, Bekolo has devised an “auteur learning” method of instruction that uses the filmmaking experience as an intellectual as well as practical approach to teaching students who prefer a learning environment that relies on “construction” rather than classic “instruction” methods. Today in America, studies show that almost 30 percent of those entering high school never graduate (Greene & Winters, 2005). The program will target African-American students who have the highest drop out rate in the country.



Born in Cameroon, Bekolo’s auteur learning method is based on his own experience challenging Hollywood’s definition of cinema as entertainment. “I don’t see a difference between film and public service,” said Bekolo. “It’s all about education. The tools are there, the interest is there, we just need to create a method of acquiring knowledge that uses what is today the most immediately accessible medium.”

Bekolo’s debut film, Quartier Mozart, received the Prix Afrique en Creation at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. His second film, Aristotle’s Plot, was one of several films commissioned by the British Film Institute to celebrate the 100th anniversary of cinema and included works by Martin Scorsese, Jean-Luc Godard, and Bernardo Bertolucci. Bekolo recently released Les Saignantes, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival. Bekolo studied film semiotics under Professor Christian Metz in Paris and has taught at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Duke University.
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