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Raoul Peck (born 1953, Port-au-Prince, Haiti) is a Haitian filmmaker, of both documentary and feature films, and a political activist. Briefly, from March 1996 to September 1997, he was Haiti's Minister of Culture.
At age 8, the Haitan-born Peck and his family (he has two younger brothers) fled the Duvalier dictatorship and joined his father in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. His father, Hebert B. Peck, an agronomist, worked for the United Nations FAO and Unesco and had taken a job there as professor of agriculture along with many Haitian professionals invited by the government to fill positions recently vacated by the departing Belgians. His mother, Giselle, would serve as aide and secretary to mayors of Kinshasa for many years. The family resided in DRC for the next 24 years.
Peck attended schools in the DRC (Kinshasa), in the United States (Brooklyn), and in France (Orléans), where he earned a baccalaureate, before studying industrial engineering and economics at Berlin's Humboldt 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 Berlin (DFFB) in West Berlin.
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.
Peck served as Minister of Culture in the Haitan government of Prime Minister Rosny Smarth (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, his 2000 feature film about Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and the period around the independence of the Belgian Congo in June 1960.
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