Germantown Friends School graduate André Robert Lee, GFS Class of ’89, worked for Miramax, Dreamworks, Universal and HBO doing every job imaginable before finally establishing his career enough to write, produce and direct his own films.
Lee, best known for the soul-searching documentary “The Prep School Negro,” was in Philadelphia last week screening his most recent effort, “I’m Not Racist, Am I?,” at the Friends Center, and stopped by GFS to talk to students in a Media Studies class.
“I have a collection of students in Media Studies who are very interested in video, so it was great to have him talk about his journey as a filmmaker,” said English and Media Studies teacher Meg Goldner Rabinowitz.
As a student at GFS, Lee recalled having “the film bug.” But he didn’t study film; he studied history, philosophy, english and photography, all of which gave him a deeper way of thinking that has guided him through his career. “Without having thought behind your work and process, you will not be able to make a film that connects with people,” he told the students.
Lee believes that it takes an education to make a quality film and that “films are education.
“If you create films that make people walk out with a new way of thinking, then you can change the world,” he said.
Lee encouraged the students to embrace what he considers the most important thing he learned while at GFS: “Be crazy and bold, do your best and push your art.”