Documentarian Kenneth Campbell now at Howard University. Photo Courtesy of Kenneth Campbell

Alumnus and filmmaker Kenneth Campbell is telling history through a lens

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N.C. Central University alumnus and filmmaker Kenneth Alexander Campbell is telling history through a lens.

Graduating from the Mass Communication department in 2017 with a concentration in Media Studies, Campbell is a notable filmmaker and is now teaching film at Howard University.

Campbell said his favorite part of being at the university was co-directing the short documentary “Millennials of the Moral Movement: Prelude,” released in 2017.

“I was able to screen the film at the Charleston Civil Rights Film Festival. It was really a beautiful capstone to a lot of my experience at NCCU,” said Campbell.

The short documentary followed three NCCU students participating in the Moral March in Raleigh on Feb. 11, 2017.

The film would be screened across the USA and would win the John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Award, the Septima Clark Emerging Artist Award, and others.

“I had support and help from all my NCCU professors. In different ways, they have all become my mentors. That self-propelled capstone project was possible because of them.”

The project would also be his breakthrough in documentary film. Initially, Campbell was a journalist working at the student newspaper, the Campus Echo, where he was the digital media editor and an editor-at-large making short documentaries.

While at the Campus Echo, Associate Professor and Internship Coordinator Charmaine McKissick-Melton would inform him about an internship at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies.

“I was just going around telling students to sign up for the Duke internship and at the time Kenneth was working at the Campus Echo,” McKissick-Melton said.

“He was a great student. And after that internship and graduating, I have been very proud of him and everything he is doing at Howard along with his recent documentaries. I still stay in touch with him.”

Professor Shauntae White said she appreciated Campbell’s curiosity while at NCCU and that it molded him to where he is now.

“What made him was that he was curious and that is a quality or trait some of our students are missing,” White said.

“He never was a person who just wanted to know information just for the test. He really cared about the information. And I think that really informed him not just as a student, but as a filmmaker and documentarian. It is also why he has become a successful graduate student and teacher.”

After NCCU, Campbell enrolled in Howard University’s School of Communications for an MFA program in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Howard University in Fall 2017.

He graduated in May 2020 as the Graduate Exemplar and has been teaching at the university since 2021.

In 2020, Campbell worked as an Impact Producer for Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director and producer Sam Pollard on the documentary “MLK/FBI.”

The film was the first to examine the extent of the FBI’s monitoring and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr. based on newly declassified FBI files.

A year prior, he directed the documentary short “BLAHC” for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. It explores the history of the DC-based Brookland Literary & Hunting Club from 1942 to 2018.

Campbell said he is proud of his work at NCCU and how it shaped his career as a documentary filmmaker.

“I’m proud that at NCCU I was able to produce and direct short feature-length projects that planted the seeds while I was a student. And which culminated in my latest work,” he said.

“All of the connections and skills that led me to work on those films were really nurtured at NCCU. Even when I would take classes at the Center for Documentary Arts at Duke, it has always been NCCU professors that championed me as a student and the support has not stopped since.”

This story also appears in the NOMMO spring 2022 newsletter published by the Mass Communication department. Go here to view the full newsletter: NOMMO Spring 2022

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