Philly’s filmmaker with a twist joins Talks@Temple
In 1999, M. Night Shyamalan’s supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense made its way to theaters. Set in Philadelphia, it was a welcome departure from what was typically expected from that genre of film.
“Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan knows how to build atmosphere—this is clear. And he does it painstakingly, brick by brick. By the end of the picture, a very powerful design becomes clear, with a twist that will put your head in a swirl,” Washington Post reviewer Desson Howe wrote at the time of the film’s release.
The film’s direction was different. It was innovative, unconventional and it deviated from the norm. Those are traits that have defined Shyamalan’s work throughout his career, and that is also why it is so apropos that he should headline the first edition of Talks@Temple during the inauguration of Temple University President Jason Wingard this week.
Talks@Temple is a global thought leadership series that invites bold discourse about pressing topics at the intersection of learning and work. Hosted by President Wingard, it features today’s most knowledgeable figures from academia, the corporate sector, the arts, entertainment and more to tackle challenging subjects and share perspectives.
“Launching Talks@Temple has always been part of my strategic vision for Temple University, and it is very gratifying to see the series make its debut during my inauguration as Temple’s 12th president,” Wingard said. “At Temple, we are committed to being a place to debate timely issues. M. Night Shyamalan’s perspective on the future of entertainment is based on his years of experience working in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, including much-anticipated work he is doing now. He is someone who has evolved, time and time again, throughout his career, and it’s fitting that our students will have the opportunity to glean his knowledge and expertise during this first edition of Talks@Temple.”
The special one-on-one discussion between Wingard and Shyamalan will be held Thursday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. in the Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad St. It is one of the premier events of President Wingard’s inauguration, and the event is free and open to the public. Attendees can register here.
During his visit, Shyamalan will discuss the future of film, television and streaming and how it relates to students coming out of schools of business, law, communications, science and technology. He will also focus on helping to prepare students by outlining the just-in-time training and skills that employers in the film and television industry are seeking.
A resident of Southeastern Pa., Shyamalan has been a screenwriter, director and producer for more than two decades. He has written and directed multiple films, including The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Visit and Split. In 2001, he established the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, which supports emerging leaders working to eliminate barriers created by poverty and social injustice in their communities. Shyamalan believes that identifying global disparities allows for increased opportunity for individuals, families and communities to realize their dreams.
Following the presentation with Shyamalan, a second Talks@Temple presentation will be held. Moderated by Valerie Harrison, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, the talk will be a roundtable discussion between the chief diversity officers from Meta—formerly known as Facebook—(Maxine Williams), McDonalds (Reginald Miller) and Citi (Erika Irish Brown).
Temple’s inauguration and Homecoming and Family Weekend will take place Sept. 12–18, 2022, on Main Campus and around Philadelphia. Learn more by visiting inauguration.temple.edu.