Bill Duke

  • Duke Youth Media Camp Class of 2019 Graduates at New York Film Academy (NYFA)


    On Saturday, March 30, the New York Film Academy hosted the graduation of the Duke Youth Media Camp class of 2019. The Media Camp—which kicked off its collaboration with NYFA on January 26 at our Los Angeles campus—is sponsored by the Duke Media Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Bill Duke in 2010.

    2019 Bill Duke Camp Graduation

    Bill Duke, a filmmaking instructor at NYFA, is a veteran director and actor, known for high-profile roles in several television series and films, including American Gigolo, Black Lightning, Mandy, Predator, and X-Men: The Last Stand. He’ll also set to appear in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film, High Flying Bird. At the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, Duke was nominated for the Palme d’Or for his film, A Rage in Harlem.

    The partnership between the Duke Media Foundation and New York Film Academy began in 2016, and their joint-effort Duke Youth Media Camp seeks to train and empower teens through hands-on instruction and by teaching students the tools and skills needed in a constantly evolving media environment. The Duke Media Foundation and NYFA aim to help inner-city youth become more competitive with those who’ve typically had greater access to the education and equipment needed in a television, film, and digital media landscape.

    The 2019 graduation ceremony was the largest ever with 16 graduates instead of the usual 12. When Duke Media instructor Lee Davis spoke to the students and their proud parents, he shared that this was the most talented group of students he had ever seen in the program.

    2019 Bill Duke Camp Graduation

    Michael Sandoval, a NYFA instructor involved in the program, added, “It was a pleasure to work with this group of students,” and said that the only time the students were ever told to quiet down was when they were laughing too loudly because they were having such a good time.

    Echoing Davis and Sandoval, Media Camp co-founder Carl Gilliard said, “I am so full today.” He continued, “Build a name that commands something [but] don’t forget to give back.”

    Paul Caruso from Lost Kids of Los Angeles Inc., one of the sponsors of the program, gave some advice to the graduates: “Make sure the world is a better place tomorrow than it was today … pay it forward.” After some words of wisdom, Caruso surprised the graduates with brand new Dell laptops—a gift from DHL, one of LKLA’s partners. Caruso shared that he wanted to make sure the students had the tools to help them be as successful as possible in the internet age.

    2019 Bill Duke Camp Graduation

    The students were then asked to speak about what they learned from the camp; many spoke about how much they enjoyed trying out every aspect of filmmaking and about the friends they made. One student, Lexi Sherwood, spoke to one of the deeper aspects of the program: “If we don’t tell our stories, who will?”

    At the end of the ceremony, Bill Duke spoke to the students, saying, “I cannot tell you how proud I am of you. You’re part of our family forever.” Following one of the themes of the afternoon, he added, “Don’t forget those that didn’t have the same opportunities that you did.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate this year’s Duke Youth Media Camp graduates and thanks the Duke Media Foundation for creating this wonderful opportunity for these aspiring storytellers.


    April 2, 2019 • Film School, Filmmaking, Outreach, Progressive & Social Causes • Views: 2804

  • NYFA’s Bill Duke Directs Legal Drama “Created Equal”


    Bill Duke

    Bill Duke

    New York Film Academy instructor Bill Duke, who has an extensive background in acting and filmmaking, returned to the directing chair in his upcoming legal drama, “Created Equal.” Duke is coming off of directing the documentary “Dark Girls,” which premiered on OWN in June 2013 and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

    The script was written by Ned Bowman, Michael Ricigliano Jr., and Joyce Renee Lewis. The film was produced by Thada Catalon of T-Cat Films. The film will star Aaron Tveit as the lawyer opposite Edy Ganem (“Devious Maids”) as the female lead, along with Lou Diamond Phillips (“Longmire”) and Greg Alan Williams (“Greenleaf”).

    In a world where gender equality remains a critical issue, this controversial film doesn’t set out to challenge the Catholic Church doctrine, but asks a very modern question: Should women be allowed into seminaries to study for the priesthood?

    “Created Equal” is based on a novel written by Roger A. Brown —who is also serving as executive producer on the film. Duke’s film sheds light on a delicate issue, women becoming priests — Alejandra Batista (Edy Ganem) is a devoted Catholic who feels the calling to become a priest. Because the Catholic Church law forbids women from entering the seminary, Allie files suit against the Archdiocese of New Orleans for sex discrimination without justifiable cause with the help of a young and successful attorney, Tommy Reilly (Aaron Tveit). As Allie’s case starts to make headlines both she and Tommy face serious backlash from the people in their lives. As the trial unfolds an extremist concocts a plot to stop the heresy against the church by attacking Alejandra and threatening to kill her if she doesn’t back off.

    The film will premiere at the American Black Film Festival.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    June 13, 2017 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 8301

  • NYFA Partners with Bill Duke Media Foundation

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailAs the New York Film Academy enters its second year of Community Outreach partnership with the Bill Duke Media Foundation, we would like to congratulate all of the graduates of this program. In attendance were Mr. Duke, himself, and Chair of Community Outreach Mason Richards. Karen A. Clark, Senior Vice-President of City National Bank and the Finance Literacy Instructor of Duke Youth Media gave special remarks.

    Students within the program wrote, directed and held various positions of three to four-minute silent films which they developed for NYFA and shot on the Universal backlot. Students tackled issues facing teens and young adults including first love, tested friendships, bullies, and confidence issues.

    During the ceremony the students “Who Am I?” projects were screened. The projects were done in conjecture with the Community Outreach film camp. The goal of the exercise was to get the students to be more comfortable with telling their own stories. Each participant was given a mini camera and instruction to record their life at home, school, and their communities.

    bill duke shoot

    Mr. Duke, Founder, President, and CEO of the Duke Media Foundation was the keynote speaker for the evening. He interviewed Eric Dean Seaton on stage. Seaton is a two-time NAACP Image Award nominated episodic director. He’s worked on numerous hit shows such as CBS “Life in Pieces,” ABC’s “Dr. Ken,” Netflix’s “Fuller House,” NBC’s “Marlon” and “Undateable,” Nickelodeon’s “School of Rock” and “The Thundermans.” Seaton is also the creator of the critically-acclaimed “Legend of the Mantamaji” graphic novel series, the upcoming “Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines” series and director of the award-winning “Legend of the Mantamaji”: Live Action Short.

    bill duke nyfa“We’re so proud of all the graduates of this Bill Duke Outreach cohort,” Richards said of his students. “The program just doesn’t focus on filmmaking, but on all the essential skills that are important to successful filmmaking; skills like collaboration, communication and of course a strong sense of storytelling. We are pleased with this community outreach partnership with the Bill Duke Media camp, and look forward to our next cohort of students.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank the instructors who made this a standout experience for all those involved. Thank you, Matt Kohnen, Jason Ornelas, Leander Sales, and Mr. Richards.

    If you’re interested in more information on the Bill Duke Media Foundation click here.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    May 29, 2017 • Community Highlights • Views: 7279

  • NYFA LA Welcomes Bill Duke to Faculty


    Bill Duke

    Bill Duke

    In the tradition of working with experienced and currently active film professionals, the New York Film Academy Los Angeles is delighted to announce that veteran actor, director, producer, writer, and humanitarian, Bill Duke, has joined its esteemed faculty.

    Duke excels in front of and behind the camera. His acting and directing credits are extensive and include work on such ground-breaking television series as Falcon Crest, Fame, Hill Street Blues, Knotts Landing, Dallas, and New York Undercover. His feature credits include Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Get Rich or Die Trying, Deep Cover, Hoodlum, Predator, Menace II Society and Not Easily Broken, among others. He has recently completed production on Blexicans, a new television pilot that takes a comedic look at a mixed race family. His documentaries, Dark Girls and Light Girls, both NAACP Image Award nominees, aired on OWN, and were two of the most successful documentaries on the network.

    Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.

    Bill Duke’s invaluable contributions to the industry have been recognized by his peers in the entertainment community. Duke was appointed by former President Bill Clinton to the National Endowment of Humanities, and was appointed to the Board of the California State Film Commission by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also has been honored by the Directors Guild of America with a Lifetime Achievement Tribute.

    Bill’s humanitarian achievements are equally significant. He devotes his time to charities and not for profit organizations that enhance our human experience. He is on the Board of Directors of Educating Young Minds, and recently established the Duke Media Foundation, which has joined forces with the New York Film Academy to teach media arts and financial literacy to underserved youth.

    Please join us in welcoming Bill Duke to the NYFA family!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 17, 2016 • Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 7157