I only heard of Ava DuVernay very recently when all the publicity for Selma started towards the end of last year. I saw Selma in February and loved it. It has amazing performances, great direction and a heartfelt script – its awards snubs in various categories were terrible.
Before directing Ava DuVernay worked in film publicity on a whole range of films, Spy Kids (2001) to Spider-Man 2 (2004), I, Robot (2004) to Collateral (2004). As someone who is just starting a career in Film PR I am fascinated and in awe of her promotional and unit work.
Ava DuVernay had made two films before Selma, I Will Follow (2010) and Middle of Nowhere (2012). She won an Independent Spirit Award for Middle of Nowhere and was the first African-American woman to be nominated for Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards for Best Director for Selma. I have yet to see I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere but I’m eagerly looking forward to doing so because if they’re half as good as Selma – they will be great.
I’ve watched most of her keynote speech at this year’s SXSW and it is enlightening and interesting and just pretty darn great. Speeches like this on representation and the film industry as a whole help aspiring filmmakers and film-lovers understand the media they consume. It is certainly worth a watch.