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New York Film Academy Graduate Directs Roberto Duran Biopic Starring Robert De Niro

New York Film Academy Graduate Directs Roberto Duran Biopic Starring Robert De Niro

June 20, 2016 Former Filmmaking graduate from 1997, Jonathan Jakubowicz, has represented both the Venezuelan community and the New York Film Academy well with both his feature film Secuestro Express and now with his upcoming biopic of Roberto Duran, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The Venezuelan native’s latest feature, Hands of Stone, stars Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin, and Edgar Ramirez. The story surrounds Roberto Duran and his trainer Ray Arcel —two legends at the heart of the golden era of boxing, and what they went through to get to Duran’s battles with Sugar Ray Leonard.

“It’s an inspiring story that shows how Duran came from nothing and became a hero for his nation,” says Jakubowicz. "The son of a US marine, Duran grows up dreaming to take revenge against the Americans who are occupying his land, and his American trainer enables him to become the best version of himself. It’s a movie about a Latin hero, and Hollywood usually only shows Latinos as drug dealers."

Like most projects in the film industry, this one wasn’t easy to deliver. Over the past few years Jakubowicz had to convince Duran to trust him with his life rights, have actor Robert De Niro agree on the right script, and raise money outside of the studio system. In the end, Jakubowicz was able to overcome all of these obstacles and secure distribution from The Weinstein Company.

“Breaking into the industry is the consequence of achieving a goal,” said Jakubowicz. “The goal is making a good movie. Focus on that goal. Make a movie that shows you can do stuff others can’t. High quality consumer cameras and computers give you an opportunity no other generation has ever had. There are no excuses why you haven’t made your first film. If you feel you are ready, do it. And do a feature. You will learn more from a feature than from 30 shorts.”

Thanks to Jakubowicz accomplishing his goals, we’ll be able to see his upcoming film, Hands of Stone, beginning on August 26, 2016.

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