Vixen Chat: Black Filmmaker Ava DuVernay Talks Breaking the Hollywood Mold

Ava DuVernay

“I did everything from taking classes at the local community college and local theaters to reading screenplay books to directly theater locally to watching directors DVD commentary. Anything that I could do to learn and eventually, I made my first documentary,” she says of her self- education. “It was a cumulative effect of a lot of stuff and attempts to gain as much information as I could. I wouldn’t say it was any one thing in particular. It was a lot of studying and trying to figure out how to make a film.”

Part of Ava’s appeal is her ability to fulfill her audience’s needs and leave them wanting more. Also, as one of a handful of African American female directors in the industry, her influence as both an artist and business woman is paving the path for other up and comers. With AFFRM, the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement, Ava uses her business and artistic savvy to bring black independent films to theaters across the country.

“I decided to do it because I was making a film that does not have a clear a path to reach an audience. There are a lot of beautiful films sitting in the drawer of their directors. There’s no studio that wants to put it out, so we came together to find a way to get these films to people who might like them.”