Private Project

Growing Up

16 years in the making, “Growing Up” focuses on Fernando Pullum and the impact he’s had on thousands of youth in South Central Los Angeles. Through music Fernando rose above his own harrowing childhood and for decades he’s passed that gift along to his students. Graduates of Pullum’s program have gone on to play with Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Stevie Wonder, and Snoop Dogg, been recipients of 6 Grammy Awards; but he’s proudest of their growth as men and women. “When I started teaching, I just wanted to make whole people. I had no idea that I would be creating artists.”
The centerpiece of the film is a conversation between two Pullum students over the course of a decade. Despite tremendous odds, they find success, much of which they credit to Pullum’s influence.

Directed by 2-time winner and 13-time nominee DGA Director of the Year, Leslie Dektor.

  • Leslie Dektor
    Fat Cake, Do you want the Elephant Music, Passing Through
  • Tom MacMaster
    Passing Through, Growing Up
  • Rye Dahlman
    Loving Henri, Passing Through, Growing Up
  • Fernando Pullum
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Music, Education, South Central Los Angeles
  • Runtime:
    54 minutes 22 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 6, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    RED , 35 mm, Canon 5D
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Pan African Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    February 16, 2019
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Leslie Dektor

Excerpt From Creativity Magazine
“More than any other commercial director, the South African born Leslie Dektor has defined the zeitgeist. His trademarks are realism, moving cameras, heavily adapted scripts, unorthodox working methods and characters off the street - techniques that, through heavy imitation, have quickly faded into commercial conformity. His aim has always been to portray the human condition.
After taking his directing techniques to its jagged edge, dragging a host of imitators behind him, Leslie Dektor has come full circle, back to the lyricism of his early years in the US - a return to painting the picture. Painting moments is a subject Dektor nows a lot about. It displays his Dektor’s painterly talent for landscapes and lighting. His work is are full of such sweet nothings. He is a man who has a very personal vision. He loves people and he loves life and the small things in life. He sees a lot of sadness, happiness, and bitter-sweetness. He tries to give it all a message of dignity.
— Ann Cooper

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