New York Film Academy students in Los Angeles are teaming up with veteran actor and director Bill Duke for the feature length documentary, What is a Man? The film explores what it means to be a man, physically, biologically, and sociologically. Students have already shot interviews around the world: in Poland, Latvia, Russia, Mexico, China, Texas, and Illinois. In the coming weeks, students will also be on hand to record interviews with comedians, religious figures, and celebrities.
With over 40 years in the film industry, Bill Duke made his mark with memorable roles in Car Wash, American Gigolo, Commando, Predator, and X-Men: The Last Stand. He also has over 50 directing credits to his name, including feature films, documentaries, and countless hours of television. Duke first approached NYFA Producing instructor Cheryl Bedford about asking students to work on a trailer for the film. The pair had previously worked on the documentary Dark Girls, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. After meeting with the students, Duke was convinced that they had what it takes to work on the entire documentary!
Students are working in all facets of production: first assistant director, second assistant director, unit production manager, writer, gaffer, key grip, director of photography, and more. Instructor Cheryl Bedford says she is proud of her students’ work on the film. “They are the professionals. I just oversee them,” said Bedford. “They’re excited and focused. We don’t coddle them. They have risen to the challenge.”