Acclaimed Photographer and Filmmaker David Michael Parks Celebrates the Gordon Parks Legacy
The Wayne State University Department of Africana Studies and the WSU Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, in conjunction with Toucan Productions, present a series of lectures and screenings by the acclaimed writer, photographer and filmmaker, David Michael Parks. In addition to working on the films of his late father Gordon Parks, and his late brother, Gordon Parks, Jr., David Parks is an accomplished filmmaker, photographer, publicist and author. His credits include special photographer for Martin Ritt’s, “Great White Hope” and for the groundbreaking film “Shaft,” directed by his father. David Parks’ photos have been published in Time-Life Books, Look, Vogue and Glamour magazines.
“Celebrating the Gordon Parks Legacy” begins Wed., Sept. 14, 1-3 p.m., at the WSU Law School Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium, with the Parks lecture, “The Gordon Parks Legacy: Pursuing a Career in Film,” including clips of popular as well as lesser known films by his family. The documentary, “Roots and Branches: Preserving the Legacy of Gordon Parks,” will also be screened.
The documentary “Half Past Autumn - The Life and Works of Gordon Parks,” produced by Denzel Washington and St. Clair Bourne will be shown at 3 p.m., followed by a public reception in the lobby at 6 p.m. After the reception Parks will present a second lecture, “Liberating American Imagery: Seeing the World through the Lens of Gordon Parks,” and a second screening of “Half Past Autumn” will begin at 7 p.m. Events held on the Wayne State University campus are free and open to the public.
On Fri., Sept. 16 “Date Night” will include dinner at 5 p.m. at the Detroit Seafood Market, 1435 Randolph in downtown Detroit’s Paradise Valley, followed at 7 p.m. by a “Parks Film Festival” just up the street at the Virgil Carr Center, 301 E. Grand River. The films “Shaft” and “Leadbelly” will be shown at 7 p.m. Tickets are $ 10, with a discount for Wayne State University students. For ticket information contact the Carr Center at (313) 965-8430.
In 1972 David Parks directed “Changing Times,” a documentary on urban black mayors which aired on WTVS TV-56 (PBS) in Detroit. He directed a series of documentary films on Texas history, and the documentary “African Art and Culture” for the University of Texas Department of Art. His works in progress include: “Directing the African Forum,” an anthropological study of African people and their art and writing and directing an independent feature film, “High Texas Riders.” Drawing on his African American and Cherokee heritage, Parks is researching and developing “John Horse: Black Seminole Chief.”
Parks authored two books which include his photography: G.I. Diary (Harper and Row) recounting his experiences as a combat soldier in Vietnam; and a collection of poems, On Our Way, (Random House, Knopf). He studied film and photo illustration at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.
“Celebrating the Gordon Parks Legacy” is co-sponsored by the WSU Department of Africana Studies, WSU Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, WSU Office of Government and Community Affairs, WSU Media Arts and Studies in the Department of Communication, WSU Journalism Institute for Media Diversity and The Virgil Carr Center of Detroit. For more information contact the WSU Department of Africana Studies at (313) 577-2321; or visit the Virgil Carr Center website www.artsleague.com or phone (313)965-8430.