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Nate Parker’s Pays it Forward With ‘Birth of a Nation’ Fellowship For Minority Filmmakers

Nate Parker of 'The Birth of a Nation' poses for a portrait at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Getty Images Portrait Studio Hosted By Eddie Bauer At Village At The Lift on January 25, 2016 in Park City, Utah
Nate Parker (The Hollywood Reporter/Twitter)Nate Parker (The Hollywood Reporter/Twitter)

Director and actor Nate Parker announced plans for a film fellowship benefiting minority filmmakers. The Birth of a Nation fellowship is named after the upcoming film Birth of a Nation, which is due this fall. Parker was honored at the Sundance Night Before Next Thursday in Los Angeles when he shared the news.

Shadow and Act reported the producers, cast and crew of the movie all launched to fellowship together. Given to one filmmaker per year for the next five years, it will sponsor a movie maker between ages 18 and 25 in participating in the Sundance Ignite program. The program gives aspiring filmmakers the chance to attend the Sundance Film Festival and rub elbows with established industry professionals.

Parker referred to them as “some of best talent in the industry,” adding the opportunity offers “the same kind of invaluable mentorship” he had when he made Nation. The flick was created through grants and fellowships with the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program.

The fellowship – created to pay it forward – is the latest move in the actor’s philanthropy. In March, Parker revealed he was developing a film school at Wiley College. The Texas HBCU was the setting of 2007’s The Great Debaters, a movie he starred in.

“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,” he said of the program launched his summer.

Recently, his charity work came under fire after some Black Twitter users discovered Parker is married to a white woman.

The writer-director announced his wife Sarah DiSanto gave birth to a baby girl and some called his activism into question.

“Ppl are really pressed that Nate Parker’s wife is white as if this invalidates all of his work and activism,” one user tweeted in his defense.

Birth of a Nation will be released Oct. 7.

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