Monday, January 30, 2012

Sundance Festival Winner...Director Ava DuVernay!

Let me start by saying Congratulations to director Ava DuVernay for winning the 2012 Sundance “Best Director” award! Ms. DuVernay is now the first African-American woman to win the directing award in the dramatic category at Sundance film festival. For those who may not know the relevance of the Sundance Film Festival, it is held in January of each year in Utah. Known as the largest independent cinema festival in the United States, It has been around since 1978 founded by Sterling Van Wagenen.  Not only was she the 1st African-American to win this category award, she was the 1st woman to win as a Director since Natalia Almada for El General (2009).

Admittedly, I did not know who Ms. DuVernay was prior to this morning (or so I thought) but I was pleasantly surprised to know that I’ve seen her work. In 2011, I caught the featured film “I Will Follow”, with Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Beverly Todd. A powerfully emotional film with surprisingly good acting (you know Salli has gotten much better over the years). She also directed a documentary I viewed titled “My Mic Sounds Nice” featuring a host of legendary divas in the rap industry. And now, it appears she’s out done herself with this latest project “Middle of Nowhere”, which she says deals with a women who has lost her husband to incarceration and now tries to maintain the marriage from outside the prison walls.

This California native and graduate of UCLA has had success in the film industry after creating The DuVernay Agency also known as DVA Media + Marking in 1999. Her agency works as a marketer and publicist for more than 120 films and television campaigns. This accolade certainly awards her the honor of being mentioned when referencing African-American Female Directors with the likes of Sanaa Hamri and Tanya Hamilton. The Strides made in Hollywood to give credence to the impact African-American women are having both in front of the camera and behind the scene are listless and lethargic at best. Yet, when greatness is achieved like in the form of the film “Middle of Nowhere” art has to be respected and honored.

With films like “Red Tails” coming out last week and proving to be a box office hit (Directed by African-American Anthony Hemingway), we now have a impactful indie film we need to see, which by the way has actor David Oyelowo from “Red Tails” playing a role. I’m happy to report that “Middle of Nowhere” was picked up for distribution by Participant Media AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement…DuVerany founded this org). Shortly, after the Sundance Festival. This ensures that we will be able to support this film by going on the internet to locate your local indie film theater and supporting our sister in her journey and supporting her art!


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Milano Flascucci~