|Ava DuVernay and her Independent Spirit Award|
I'm a huge Ava DuVernay fan. A feature film and television director, writer, producer and distributor, founder of the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), she also makes branded entertainment. She won the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, and was honoured with the 2013 John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award and the Tribeca Film Institute 2013 Affinity Award.
I think of Ava DuVernay as a visionary, from whom all filmmakers can learn. Take AFFRM for example, a distribution collective of black arts organizations dedicated to quality black independent films. Is this a model that could work for women's independent films, too? And what about her smart approach to branded entertainment? If we're concerned with the way women are represented, and the compromises of 'commercial' work, what can we learn from her work for Miu Miu and Fashion Fair?
In this Film Independent Forum keynote address, Ava DuVernay shares the principles that inform her rich, diverse and highly successful practice, principles we all can use. It's a masterclass, including a Q & A. Don't miss it! (I feel very lucky because it's my second masterclass of the week – on Monday I attended Jane Campion's masterclass here in Wellington – a wonderful day. More coming about it soon.)
If you're not familiar with Ava DuVernay's work – as far as I know her features have not yet reached cinemas outside the States – some trailers and the complete Miu Miu and Fashion Fair works are below.
Ava DuVernay's website
Middle of Nowhere is Ava DuVernay's second feature.
Venus Vs chronicles Venus Williams' fight for pay equality.
I Will Follow is Ava DuVernay's first feature.
This Is The Life is a hip-hop documentary
The Door, one of the Miu Miu 'Women's Tales'.
In this one, Fashion Fair, look out for legendary filmmaker Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust, the first full-length film by an African-American woman with general theatrical release in the United States)!