Release Date: September 14, 2016
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Filmmaker André Robert Lee will host a special screening of his moving 2012 documentary, “The Prep School Negro,” on Monday, Sept. 19, from 6-8:30 p.m. in 101 Davis Hall on the University at Buffalo North Campus.
The screening will be followed by an open discussion on the generational shifts within technology and race and the fight for social justice with Lee and co-host Mike Langlois, an adjunct faculty member in the Boston College School for Social Work and a teaching associate in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Presented by UB’s School of Social Work as part of a series called Social Work and Technology, the event is free and open to the public.
In 1989, Lee received a full scholarship to attend Germantown Friends School (GFS), one of the most prestigious private schools in the country.
Lee says he came from a lower-income background and the school’s tuition exceeded his mother’s annual salary. Though his family called the scholarship a golden ticket, decades later, Lee is still asking about the cost of that opportunity. His film explores issues of race and class and the complexities of living in two different worlds as it examines what was gained and what was sacrificed as a result of his experience.
“I have been on a journey since the first screening to encourage people to watch the film, verbalize their internal dialogue and face what I call ‘psychological homelessness,’” says Lee. “I want people to take the introspective journey that helps us understand existence.”
“The Prep School Negro” revisits events from Lee’s adolescence and includes interviews with current students of color at GFS and their classmates to see what has changed over the years.
It has been a curious journey for Lee, who wasn’t sure anyone would care about his story. He wondered how people would connect to the documentary, but soon discovered that audiences related to the film on a level much deeper than he could have envisioned.
“This film offers a surprising human connection that serves an important purpose during these complicated times,” he says. “I learned a great deal about who I am and the people I come from.
“I often say making this film saved my life.”