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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Filmmaker to discuss documentary on Dr. King’s life

    Noland Walker, an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, will be at the UA Saturday to discuss and show clips of his films at the symposium, “”In Our Own Voice: African American Film Makers Oscar Micheaux, Spike Lee and Noland Walker.””

    Among the films he will be discussing is “”Citizen King,”” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and documented the last five years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life.

    Walker explains that in those years, King became increasingly critical of what the U.S. needed to do to achieve change.

    “”This is about real equity in all regards,”” said Walker of King’s final wishes. He feels King began to see that the already complex problems were even bigger than he thought.

    When asked if Walker himself had any hope for change with the current national problems, he said, “”Yes … (progress) is the cumulative works of all the people whose names we may or may not know. In order to make progress forward, you have to know what came before.””

    Raised in Memphis, Tenn. and currently living in Philadelphia, Pa., Walker got his start working in the late ’80s with Blackside Productions after seeing their release, “”Eyes on the Prize I.””

    Blackside Productions was what Walker thought a production company should be about: paying close attention to detail, checking the facts and scholarship. The company was a gem in those days when, according to Walker, blacks were considered “”biologically inferior.”” A couple of meetings later and with a new appreciation for the collaborative nature of filmmaking, Walker began working with Blackside for “”Eyes on the Prize II”” and expanded his “”understanding of what had happened in the world.””

    Amidst the newer fads of documentaries, in which the characters’ lives tell the story, Walker maintains that the director is still the storyteller. He personally enjoys documentary styles that use archival footage — “”making films with things that already exist,”” he said. “”I try to get you to consider the subject matter … in ways you may not have thought of before. “”

    Walker won an Emmy for co-producing and co-directing “”A Day in the Life of Jeremiah Burke,”” a documentary about an urban high school, filmed similarly to MTV’s “”Real World”” series. Experiences such as these helped shape Walker’s beliefs about filmmaking.

    “”What’s important is what is the story you’re telling and how are you telling it,”” he said.

    Walker is especially excited to be a part of this symposium because he feels that it was in the college environment where he learned about films that inspired him. “”Colleges and universities play a unique role in showing the many paths people can take in life,”” Walker said.

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