DuckDirected by Jakob Daschek« Back to main film
Emmanuel isn't like other ten-year-olds — he can't play with them, he can't focus at school, and he can't even bear to be hugged by his mother. Manny's crippling fear of being touched is threatening to ruin his life. Until, at his mother's prompting, he visits a local boxing gym. There, with help from a seasoned trainer, Emmanuel learns not just to confront his phobia, but to use it, in this inspiring story about facing our fears, owning our strengths, and fighting for a chance to be who we are.
Jakob Daschek, the founder of Syrup, is passionate about pushing design beyond its traditional limits. He has worked with clients such as PUMA, GE, Nike, Sony, Aeropostale, Motorola, and Polo Ralph Lauren, among many others, and has received numerous awards, including the How Design Interactive Award, Print Magazine Digital Award, One Show Award, Webby, Davy Award, Macromedia Site of the Day Award, and the Art Direction Club Award. Jakob has recently moved on to become a commercial director signed with RSA Films.
It's rare as a director to get a brief that asks for nothing more than a flawed character. From the beginning I was excited to really explore how flaws can define who we become.
We are all flawed in one way or another, with weird quirks, traumas or idiosyncrasies. They might annoy some people or inspire others. For example, I have this weird thing about not putting keys on the table. It makes no sense but it's part of a phobia I have and reveals a lot about me.
When I was talking with my writing partner Aramique Krauthamer about the idea of this film we got really into the idea of flaws that become strengths. USA has a few characters like this and so we thought it might be perfect. The more we talked about it the more we became intrigued with the moment of transformation, when the character realizes that this flaw that has plagued him might strangely be to his benefit.
That's how the story of Duck was born.
I've always been interested in sports and especially boxing stories but there have been so many boxing movies that it's almost a cliché now. I wanted to use boxing but not make a story about it.
Our lead character, Emmanuel is scared of being touched, so clearly boxing would be the last thing he'd want to do. But because he's spent his whole life avoiding being touched he's inadvertently become impossible to hit. That's the beauty of his flaw and what makes the film interesting.
A lot of the film was riding on finding the right kid to play Emmanuel. I was nervous about it until I came across this kid Skylan. Right away I knew that we had found someone special. He brought such an amazing energy to the set, and his way of taking direction was more like an adult. He is an old soul for sure and this is not the last we will see of him.
The other part that was really important was finding the right boxing gym for the moment of transformation. We found this place called Broadway Boxing deep in Watts. That kind of character is hard to come by. You could feel the sweat, the hard work and history dripping from the walls. The gym felt lost in time and inspired us to try and make the aesthetic feel almost Cuban.
I'm not trying to give people hope that their flaw might become their strength. This story is just to show that some things are beyond our control. Sometimes we need to fall in order to rise. Sometimes it takes a phobia to make a fighter. Life is funny that way.
Skylan Brooks Though only 12 years old, actor, dancer, and singer Skylan Brooks has already built an impressive resume, with highlights including a role in the feature film Our Family Wedding, starring Forest Whitaker, America Ferrara, and Regina King, and appearances on television series such as iCARLY (Nickelodeon), Children's Hospital (Nickelodeon) and Funny or Die (HBO). He has appeared in commercials for Target, Koolaid, iPod, and Gogurt, among others, and has even recorded his first demo — singing a song he wrote himself.
Dannon Green A versatile comedian and actor, Dannon Green has appeared on a number of television series, including UPN sitcoms Moesha, Girlfriends, and One On One, the WB's All About The Andersons, Nickelodeon's Just Jordan, and the critically acclaimed series The Shield and Everybody Hates Chris. In addition to acting, Green is well-known for his stand-up comedy, and has been featured on Apollo Comedy Hour, BET's Comic View and Martin Lawrence's First Amendment on Starz. This multi-talented performer is also a two-time Golden Glove champion in boxing, an avid golfer, a writer, and holds a Masters degree in Computer Animation.
Tish Wright After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Tish Wright was planning to attend law school. But when her career in modeling took off, sending her to destinations as far-flung as Spain and South Africa, law got put on the back burner. Wright is currently pursuing an acting career in Los Angeles, where she is working on three web series — Almost Famous, Make Love Not War, and Lila Long Distance — and has completed several short films, including My Perfect Man, I'm Sorry, and Charlie.
Written & Directed by Jakob Daschek
USA Network Presents
An RSA Films Production
Executive Producer Kim Dellara
Co-Producer John Winter
Director of Photography Max Goldman
Production Designer Marc Greville
Post Supervisor Dina Ciccotello
Co-Written By Aramique Krauthamer
Story Consultant Lukas Loughran
Editor Akiko Iwakawa
Music By Human
Costume Designer Erica Nicotra
Casting Director Dan Cowan
Sensory Disorder Consultant Liz Delicarpini
Darren ThomasOlder Emmanuel
Bijan NobleBully #1
Samuel ThackerBully #2
Production Supervisor Christine Miller
Asst Production Supervisor Katie Platt
Talent Coordinator Molly Santana
1st Assistant Director Joe Osborne
2nd Assistant Director Vicki Goldsmith
1st AC Richard Avelon
1st AC Nate Havens
2nd AC Bram Weinkselbaum
Gaffer Elan Yaari
Best Boy Electric Bill Mayberry
Electric Michelle Sutor
Electric Driver Valdimir Tomayo
Electric Jack Gooberman
Electric Driver Jarrod Hettler
Key Grip Rudy Covarrubius
Best Boy Grip Andrew Chojnacki
Best Boy Grip Phil Lugan
Grip Driver Dane Harvey
Grip Omar Pena
VTR Bobby Buckholz
Sound Mixer Jon Tendrich
Boom Operator Jeff Blehr
Script Supervisor Melisa Sanchez
Set Decorator Traci Kirshbaum
Prop Master Bill Cancienne
On Set Dresser Doran Meyers
Lead Man Christian Nwanisobu
Assistant Stylist Nicole Bontemps
Hair Stylist Ashley Jackson
Hair Assistant Megann Romero
Location Manager Byll Williams
Location Scout J. Max Simon
Gang Boss Ed Melendez
Motorhome Driver Jay Galloway
Pass Van Driver Karlo Galloway
Studio Teacher Beth McManigill
Craft Service Cindy Cannon
Set Medic Steve DeNapoli
Set Medic Nik Weeks
© 2011 RSA Films, Inc. and Jakob Daschek. All Rights Reserved