Bringing light to untold stories and broadening the scope of black independent film is what moves DuVernay to distribute her own projects and those of other black filmmakers.
“Black audiences are not used to art-house fare because they’ve not had any kind of diet of it. It’s not been provided to them,” she said. “And independent audiences are not used to black fare.”
She wants to cultivate and educate both audiences through her own films and AaFFRM.
“There’s something very important about films about black women and girls being made by black women,” she said. “It’s a different perspective. It is a reflection as opposed to an interpretation, and I think we get a lot of interpretations about the lives of women that are not coming from women.”
DuVernay is convinced that stories from underrepresented populations will find audiences in this digital age, just as her films have.
“It’s easier to get your hands on a camera now, easier to make a film, easier to get and find an audience and new ways to reach people through digital,” she said.
She plans to make a film a year, and so far she’s on track. Up next is a documentary about Venus Williams, and in February, DuVernay will start production on her third screenplay.
“Nowhere” producer Paul Garnes says DuVernay is a force in the resurgence of black cinema.
“Ava is part of a new generation of writer-directors of color who think out of the box, and declare that there are stories that we aren’t telling and that we must tell them, our way,” Garnes said.
That means skipping the big studios and their deep pockets and digging more into honest stories.
“If you want fame and you want industry and all of those things, then you need to ask permission,” said Duvernay. “But if you’re saying you want to be an artist who tells their stories and reaches an audience and is able to create a canon of art and work, there’s no reason you can’t do that.”
Bet Oprah would agree.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy.