Raoul Peck
Raoul Peck is an award-winning Haitian filmmaker, of both documentary and feature films, and a political activist. Briefly, in the 1990s, he was Haiti's Minister of Culture.


At age 8, the Haitan-born Peck and his family fled the Duvalier
François Duvalier
François Duvalier was the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. Duvalier first won acclaim in fighting diseases, earning him the nickname "Papa Doc" . He opposed a military coup d'état in 1950, and was elected President in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform...

 dictatorship and joined his father in Léopoldville
Leopoldville may refer to:* The capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, today known as Kinshasa* SS Leopoldville, a troopship sunk in 1944...

, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

. His father, H. B. Peck, had already taken a job there as professor of agriculture along with many Haitan professionals invited by the government to fill positions recently vacated by the departing Belgians. His mother would serve as secretary to mayors of Léopoldville for many years. The family resided in DRC for the next 24 years.

Peck attended schools in the DRC (Léopoldville), in the United States (Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

), and in France (Orléans
-Prehistory and Roman:Cenabum was a Gallic stronghold, one of the principal towns of the Carnutes tribe where the Druids held their annual assembly. It was conquered and destroyed by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, then rebuilt under the Roman Empire...

), where he earned a baccalaureate, before studying industrial engineering
Industrial engineering
Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering dealing with the optimization of complex processes or systems. It is concerned with the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials, analysis...

 and economics at Berlin University. He spent a year as a New York City taxi driver and worked (1980–85) as a journalist and photographer before attending and receiving a film degree (1988) from the German Film and Television Academy (DFFA) in West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...


Peck initially developed short experimental works and socio-political documentaries, before moving on to feature films. His feature L’Homme sur les quais (1993; The Man by the Shore) was the first Haitian film to be released in theatres in the United States. It was also selected for competition at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival
1993 Cannes Film Festival
- Jury :* Louis Malle * Claudia Cardinale * Inna Churikova * Judy Davis * Abbas Kiarostami * Emir Kusturica * William Lubtchansky * Tom Luddy * Gary Oldman * Augusto M...


Peck served as Minister of Culture in the Haitan government of Prime Minister Rosny Smarth
Rosny Smarth
Rosny Smarth was Prime Minister of Haiti briefly, from February 27, 1996 to June 9, 1997. He resigned his post before a successor was found, leaving the post vacant for nearly two years. His political party is the OPL.-References:...

 (1996–97), ultimately resigning his post along with the PM. He detailed his experiences in this position in a book, Monsieur le Ministre… jusqu'au bout de la patience.

Peck has achieved his highest degree of international public attention for Lumumba
Lumumba (film)
Lumumba is a 2000 film directed by Raoul Peck centred around Patrice Lumumba in the months before and after the Democratic Republic of the Congo achieved independence from Belgium in June 1960. Raoul Peck's film is a coproduction of France, Belgium, Germany, and Haiti...

, his 2000 feature film about Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

 and the period around the independence of the Belgian Congo
Belgian Congo
The Belgian Congo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo between King Leopold II's formal relinquishment of his personal control over the state to Belgium on 15 November 1908, and Congolese independence on 30 June 1960.-Congo Free State, 1884–1908:Until the latter...

 in June 1960.

A book of screenplays and images from four of Peck's major features and documentary films, called Stolen Images, is being published in February 2012 by Seven Stories Press
Seven Stories Press
Seven Stories Press is an independent publishing company. Located in New York City, the company was founded by editor Dan Simon in 1995 after he parted company with Four Walls Eight Windows. The company was named for its seven founding authors: Annie Ernaux, Gary Null, the estate of Nelson Algren,...


Today, he divides his time between Voorhees Township
Voorhees Township, New Jersey
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 28,126 people, 10,489 households, and 7,069 families residing in the township. The population density was 2,424.0 people per square mile . There were 11,084 housing units at an average density of 955.2 per square mile...

, Camden County, New Jersey
Camden County, New Jersey
-Demographics:As of the 2010 Census the population of Camden County was 60.28% Non-Hispanic white, 18.45% Non-Hispanic black, 1.12% Hispanic blacks, 0.17% Non-Hispanic Native American, 0.15% Hispanic Native Americans, 5.07% Non-Hispanic Asian, and 0.14% non-Hispanics reporting some other race...

, USA, Paris, France, and Port-à-Piment
Port-à-Piment is a municipality in the Côteaux Arrondissement, in the Sud Department of Haiti.It has 13,921 inhabitants....

, Haiti.

He is president of La Fémis
La Femis
La Fémis , is the French state film school. FEMIS is an acronym for Fondation Européenne pour les Métiers de l’Image et du Son. Based in Paris, it offers courses balanced between artistic research, professional development and technical training...

 since .

Awards and accolades

  • Human Rights Watch
    Human Rights Watch
    Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

    's Nestor Almendros Prize (1994)
  • Sony Special Prize, Locarno Festival (for Chère Catherine, 1997)
  • Human Rights Watch's Lifetime Achievement Award (2001)
  • Procirep Prize, Festival du Réel (for Lumumba—Death of a Prophet, 2002)
  • Best Documentary, Montreal Film Festival (for Lumumba—Death of a Prophet, 2002)
  • Jury member, Berlin International Film Festival
    Berlin International Film Festival
    The Berlin International Film Festival , also called the Berlinale, is one of the world's leading film festivals and most reputable media events. It is held in Berlin, Germany. Founded in West Berlin in 1951, the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978...

  • Human Rights Watch's Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award (2003)


  • De Cuba Traigo Un Cantar (short; 1982)
  • Exzerpt (short; 1983)
  • Leugt (short; 1983)
  • The Minister of the Interior is on our Side (short; 1984)
  • Merry Christmas Deutschland (short; 1984)
  • Haitian Corner (1987–88)
  • Lumumba: La mort du prophète (Lumumba: Death of a Prophet, 1992)
  • L’Homme sur les quais (The Man by the Shore, 1993)
  • Haiti - Le silence des chiens (Haiti - Silence of the Dogs, 1994)
  • Desounen: Dialogue with Death (1994)
  • Chère Catherine (1997)
  • Corps plongés (It's Not About Love, 1998)
  • Lumumba
    Lumumba (film)
    Lumumba is a 2000 film directed by Raoul Peck centred around Patrice Lumumba in the months before and after the Democratic Republic of the Congo achieved independence from Belgium in June 1960. Raoul Peck's film is a coproduction of France, Belgium, Germany, and Haiti...

  • Profit & Nothing But! Or Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle (2001)
  • Sometimes in April
    Sometimes In April
    Sometimes in April is a 2005 historical drama television film about the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, written and directed by the Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck...

  • L’Affaire Villemin (2006), TV Series
  • Moloch Tropical (2009)
  • Karl Marx in production, 2009

External links

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