A Behind the Scenes Look at Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay is an African American filmmaker, producer, and screenwriter who is most known for her works on the hit tv-show, Queen Sugar, the historical drama Selma, and movie adaption of A Wrinkle in Time.

Before DuVernay began a career in filmmaking, she was a publicist for many years. According to the article, Conversations with Ava DuVernay, she had a firm named the DuVernay Agency which specialized in areas of marketing, publicity, and studio product.

It wasn’t until DuVernay was 32 years old when she got her start in film. Unlike most famous filmmakers who went to film school to gain more experience in media production, DuVernay went to the University of California to study English and African American Studies. From there, she started working closely behind the camera.

In 2010, she released her first feature film titled, I Will Follow. She followed that up with another film two years later, Middle of Nowhere which won her the Best Director Award making her the first African American woman to achieve this honor.

She hit her big break in 2015 directing the autobiographical drama Selma, which told the story of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march with other African Americans from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to fight for their right to vote.

She’s also dabbled her hand in documentary work. Releasing projects such as 2008’s This is the Life and 2016’s 13th.

Just last year around this time, Disney released a film called A Wrinkle in Time which is based on the 1962 book of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle.

Although, the film was expected to be another success for Disney and many people were excited to see a diverse/star-studded cast including the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon as the leading characters.

Ultimately, the film went on to be a box office bomb only earning $132 million worldwide on a $100-130 million budget and receiving mixed reviews from both critics and audiences.

Despite the disappointing results of A Wrinkle in Time, DuVernay doesn’t show any signs of letting up. In fact, Queen Sugar is renewed for a fourth season and a new Netflix series called When They See Us will be released on May 31st , which she wrote and directed.

As an aspiring filmmaker myself, I am glad to have someone like DuVernay to shadow. Her decision to cast mostly black actors and showing them in a positive/realistic light is what I aspire to do with my films as well.

If you haven’t watched any of Duvernay’s work, I suggest giving her a look during your free time. You won’t be disappointed by this talented, artistic, and creative director.