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

Since its 2011 inception, the distribution collaborative has released over 6 films, including Venus VS., a documentary about the life and career of Venus Williams, which debuted to stellar reviews and a standing ovation at the LA Film Festival.

The director, who counts Julie Dash and Charles Burnett as some of her favorite filmmakers, is most excited to see the progression of African Americans in the entertainment industry. Although people like Kerry Washington, Mara Akil and Gabrielle Union are paving the way for black female entertainers, DuVernay says there’s still a lot of work to do.

“I’m not a black actress, so I can’t speak on their experiences, but as a black director who makes films about black women, I’ve relied on their talent and I just hope more of our sisters that have an incredible skill set are able to show what they can do in a more wide range. I think one of the challenges is repetition, the same kind of roles. Things that are un-nuanced- that doesn’t really give a lot of complexity, caricatures or flat portrayals. These are all things that black artists, directors and writers have to work together to change.”

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