Delaware State University will present award-winning filmmaker Lee Daniels – producer and director of the recently released The Butler and other critically acclaimed films – as guest speaker at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus.
The event – which is part of the DSU Office of Student Affairs’ Make Your Mark Speakers Series – is free and open to the public.
Mr. Daniels’ filmography includes: screenwriter and director of the 2009 film Precious, which was Academy Award nominated for Best Director and Best Motion Picture; and producer of the 2001 film Monster Ball, of which Halle Berry became the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress.
His latest project The Butler – which has grossed over $110 million at the box office since its mid-August release – is a film inspired by the life of Eugene Gaines, who served as a White House butler through eight different presidential administrations. The powerful cast ensemble includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, as well as the presidents’ portrayals by Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, John Cusak, Alan Rickman and others. The movie has created significant buzz among Academy Award watchers.
In addition, Mr. Daniels produced the critically acclaimed The Woodsman, Tennessee, and produced, directed and wrote the screenplay for The Paperboy.
Lee Daniels’ background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates. By the age of 21, Mr. Daniels founded and ran his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; simultaneously, he was trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his health care business and giving up screenwriting, he began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Natasha Kinsky, and Aishwarya Rai. Mr. Daniels turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after.