Deep Cover Bill Duke
Jeff Goldblum and Laurence Fishburne in Deep Cover (1992), New Line Cinema

The Atlanta Film Festival has announced plans to screen a special presentation of the 1992 crime thriller Deep Cover followed by a Q&A with director Bill Duke.

The event will take place on Thursday, May 2 at the 48th annual festival and creative conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bill Duke to Be Honored Alongside Deep Cover Screening

The festival will also honor Duke with the Ossie Davis Award for Innovation in Filmmaking. Past recipients include Spike Lee in 2005, Cicely Tyson in 2006, John Sayles and Maggie Renzi in 2007 and Keke Palmer in 2023. The award is given to people who have left an indelible mark on cinema and television.

Deep Cover stars Laurence Fishburne as Russell Stevens, an undercover cop with his sights set on taking down the biggest drug dealer in Los Angeles, David Jason, played by Jeff Goldblum. Stevens masquerades as a dealer to infiltrate the Los Angeles underworld — but soon the lines between hero and villain begin to blur.

The special screening of Deep Cover is part of the 11-day film festival and educational conference that began on Thursday, April 25 and will continue through Sunday, May 5, 2024 at the Plaza Theatre and Tara Theatre in Atlanta as well as virtually online.

In addition to directing films including Deep Cover, Created Equal, Not Easily Broken, Cover, The Cemetery Club and A Rage in Harlem, he’s also directed several TV movies and episodes of television series including the 1990 The Outsiders series, an episode of the 1980s Twilight Zone reboot, Miami Vice, Matlock, and Dallas.

He’s also known as an accomplished actor in films like American Gigolo (1980) Predator (1987), Commando (1985), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Exit Wounds (2001), Red Dragon (2002), Mandy (2018), Menace II Society (1993), The Limey (1999), Get Rich or Die Trying (2005) and in shows like Kojak, Starsky & Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, Fastlane, Cold Case, Law & Order: SVU, and Lost.

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Bill Duke also formally served on the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute and was appointed to the California State Film Commission Boar by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He served as the Time Warner Endowed Chair of the Department of Radio Television and Film at Howard University in Washington, DC and was also appointed to the National Endowment of the Humanities by President Bill Clinton.  

Bill Duke
Bill Duke, courtesy of Bill Duke

He’s also the founder and CEO of Duke Media, formerly Yagya Productions, through which he’s spent the last 30 years production film and television. His documentaries, Dark Girls and Light Girls, both NAACP Image Award nominees, aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

He recently started the Duke Media Foundation, which teaches young people between the ages of 11 and 18 years old the disciplines of financial and media literacy, the art of filmmaking, and managing the business and finances of filmmaking. Students also have the opportunity to learn the distinction between the spending of money and the use of money. The goal of the Duke Media Foundation is to ensure that the next generation of creatives are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and mentorship to remain competitive in the evolving film media industry.

The Atlanta Film Festival (ATFF) is the annual centerpiece of film programming that is provided year-round by its parent organization, the Atlanta Film Society (ATLFS). In its fifth decade, ATLFF an Academy Award-qualifying festival in the live-action short, animation short, and documentary short subject categories.

This year’s lineup of 142 films features diverse filmmakers who continue to uplift voices and stories from around the world, representing 118 countries. Over 24% of films have ties to Georgia filmmakers. 

Find out more about the lineup and tickets to the screening of Deep Cover here.

Main Image: Jeff Goldblum and Laurence Fishburne in Deep Cover (1992), New Line Cinema