All Articles Tagged "ava duvernay"
It’s a great year for black people in the arts, some would say.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay is yet another great to be celebrated for her wonderful contributions to film.
Saturday, she was awarded the John Cassavetes award at the Independent Spirit Awards, for her independent film, “Middle of Nowhere.”
Read more at EurWeb.com.
Oh, The Glamour: Ava DuVernay Directs Miu Miu Short Film Starring Gabrielle Union, Adepero Oduye, Alfre Woodard, & More
If you’ve ever seen director Ava DuVernay’s work in either I Will Follow or Middle Of Nowhere, you know that she is immensely talented and has a knack for filming people of color in a way that has them looking absolutely regal. Recently, DuVernay partnered with high fashion brand Miu Miu, a subsidy of Prada, to produce a short film featuring the brand’s clothing. The film, called “The Door,” does not include any dialogue but it tells a story of a woman whose friends are trying to help her cope with and overcome a recent breakup.
In addition to Gabrielle Union, the woman whose going through the breakup, the film also features Adepero Oduye, from Pariah and Steel Magnolias, Emayatzy Corinealdi from DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, (which was an awesome film by the way), singer Goapele and veteran actress Alfre Woodard. DuVernay explained that the film got its title “The Door” because: “In the film, characters arrive at the door of a friend in need, bringing something of themselves. Eventually, we witness our heroine ready to walk through the door on her own. The door in the film represents a pathway to who we are.”
Check out this beautifully made 9-min film below. (If you’re not at work, make it full screen so you can bask in the beauty. )
You can go to business school. Have mentors. But sometimes the most useful advice comes from the woman who knows you best.
Mom is a wellspring of advice and information. We asked nine successful women for the best career advice their mothers gave them. As you can imagine, that advice is colorful, useful, and inspiring.
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The African American Film Critics Association announced (h/t BET) its award recipients this week with Denzel Washington taking the Best Actor award for his performance in Flight. Another big winner was Sundance favorite Middle of Nowhere with that film taking the Best Actress award for Emayatzy Corinealdi, Best Independent Film, and Best Screenplay for Ava DuVernay.
Interestingly, topping the list of 10 Best Films of 2012 is Zero Dark Thirty, the new film by Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow about the Osama bin Laden killing. Middle of Nowhere comes in at number four, Django Unchained is number seven, Beasts of the Southern Wild is number eight, and Think Like a Man rounds out the list.
Middle of Nowhere hasn’t just been a critical darling. Back in October, the indie movie was taking the box office by storm, making tens of thousand of dollars on the few screens it was shown. Other movies on the top ten list, like Lincoln and Beasts of the Southern Wild, have also had the critics talking about awards they may receive as Oscar season kicks into gear.
We haven’t seen too many movies on the list just yet (Flight was very good), but we have to get it together over the next couple of months. What about you? Any favorites? (And BTW, check out this video of Middle of Nowhere‘s DuVernay and Corniealdi on 24Wired.TV.)
Ava DuVernay, who’s directed films like I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere recently spoke with Uptown Magazine, alongside actor Omari Hardwick. DuVernay, who became the first black woman to win Best Director at Sundance for Middle of Nowhere, chatted about the lack of black love stories for directors to study and learn from, what it’s like working with the fineness that is Omari Hardwick, (She didn’t mention his fineness, the two share a more brotherly/sisterly relationship.), and what she gets from each of the actors she works with.
See why Omari says he loves working with Ava and read the rest of the interview at Uptown Magazine.
Remember the 1997 film Eve’s Bayou? That magical film marked the directorial debut of a great young talent in Hollywood by the name of Kasi Lemmons. Since she burst onto the scene, Lemmons has been steadily working but we haven’t heard much about her in the mainstream media so it was great to stumble upon this news from Deadline.com about the talented writer and director:
The Eve’s Bayou director will both adapt and direct the feature film version of Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat. Kasi Lemmons is scheduled to finish the screenplay by next month, the producers announced today. UK-based Patrick Holzen, Debbie Vandermeulen and Crash producer Mark R. Harris will produce the adaptation of the acclaimed 2010 South African novel. South Africa’s Do Productions will co-produce. Spanning the 1950s to the 1990s, the story is set in Apartheid ruled South Africa where a black maid slowly takes over the running of her adopted white parents/employers farm. Lemmons is who is next set to direct Black Nativity for Fox Searchlight and to adapt Zadie Smith’s novel On Beauty. Lemmons is represented by the Gersh Agency and Wet Dog Entertainment.
The news about the collaboration with Zadie Smith is especially big news. Smith, who is a Black British writer, is a heavyweight in the literary world and many will be waiting to see just how “On Beauty” will be translated to the big screen.
Although it’s been a minute since Lemmons got the attention of Hollywood as a young filmmaker of color, other filmmakers like Ava DuVernay are now the ones commanding the popular attention of the media and forging ahead with the mission to get more diverse stories told in Hollywood.
Atop this weekend’s box office tally is the latest installment of the tired horror franchise Paranormal Activity. That film brought in $30.2 million in its opening week. And, according to E! Online, Tyler Perry’s latest film, Alex Cross, based on the James Patterson novel, flopped, coming in fifth with $11.2 million, lower than his lowest-grossing film, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls.
But despite those numbers, it’s an indie film made by an African-American woman that’s generating lots of talk, including an endorsement from the lady, Madame Oprah.
Middle of Nowhere by Ava DuVernay was made for just $200,000 (minuscule by Hollywood standards) and opened on October 12 in just six theaters. But the film averaged $13,055 on each of those screens, giving it the best outcome of the weekend. This weekend, the film expanded to 21 theaters in 14 cities and made more than $54,000. It has grossed $127,137 so far, says IndieWire, and will be showing in additional theaters this coming weekend.
DuVernay is not just a filmmaker, but helps to run the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AAFRM), an organization dedicated to black indie filmmakers. (Note that ImageNation, the subject of one of our recent profiles, is highlighted on their site as well.) Earlier this year, DuVernay became the first African-American woman to take home the Best Director prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
“The weekend was electric as Middle of Nowhere enjoyed sold-out shows with both diverse crowds in NYC and LA, and predominately African-American audiences in Washington DC and Philadelphia,” the AAFRM’s Tilane Jones told The Hollywood Reporter.
Oprah Winfrey has also thrown her support behind the film, tweeting to her 14 million followers that this is a film to see. ”Bravo to you my sistah,” she’s written.
DuVernay was a publicist when she came up with the idea for Middle of Nowhere, a film about a Compton nurse named Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) whose husband Derek (Omari Hardwick) is in prison. She decided to strike out on her own to make the film, and is now being credited with giving a shock of life to the black indie film scene. (She has also made another film, I Will Follow.) Reviews in top-tier publications like The New York Times have been positive.
“There’s something very important about films about black women and girls being made by black women. 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 told the AP.
Have you seen Middle of Nowhere? Let us know what you thought. And let us know if you plan to see it.
OWN may not be doing as amazing as Oprah’s daytime talk show but we still know the power of the O-p-r-a-h endorsement – cha ching!
I have a feeling Ava DuVernay may soon reap the benefits of the media mogul’s plug because yesterday Oprah sent out two tweets shouting out the director and her new critically acclaimed film “Middle of Nowhere,” which opens in select theaters this weekend. Oprah tweeted:
This summer, Ava DuVernay became the first black woman to win Best Director at Sundance with her film about a woman who drops out of med school in order to support her husband who has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Made with just $200,000, the level of success Ms. DuVernay has achieved with such a small budget has been incredible. And now with Oprah’s stamp of approval, there’s no telling how big this weekend’s opening could be. You all better get to the theaters!
Do you plan on seeing “Middle of Nowhere”?
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We tweeted yesterday about Urbanworld Digital, but, even bigger, the 16th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival kicked off last night with the opening film Being Mary Jane. Starring Gabrielle Union (number 22 on The Root 100) and written by Mara Brock Akil (number 51, who also wrote Sparkle, Girlfriends and The Game), the BET Networks movie is about a single TV news anchor (Union) making a way in her personal and professional life.
Before the movie, however, there was the red carpet (we snapped a quick pic of Gabrielle Union for the cell phone, along with the dozens of photogs and reporters who showed up for opening night). In addition to Union, Akil, BET CEO Debra Lee, Tika Sumpter, and other stars and notable names turned out for the event.
Though Urbanworld has been around for more than a decade, it’s still hard work to finance and organize the event.
“It’s definitely a comprehensive labor of love,” said Gabrielle Glore, the festival’s executive producer and head of programming, who spoke with us over the phone just before opening night. “No one is getting rich off these festivals. Not even the big ones.”
Among the big ones are, of course, Sundance, the Toronto Film Festival, which got a lot of attention this year because Kristen Stewart made her first pre-scandal debut, and Cannes. For all of these festivals, publicity — for the films, for the event itself — is important. Last night’s media turnout no doubt drums up a good deal of attention for the festival.
But more than that, sponsors are important to Urbanworld. “It’s all about sponsors,” said Galore. HBO is Urbanworld’s founding sponsor; BET is its presenting sponsor. “It lets people know that there’s some credibility. The sponsor piece is critical.”
According to Glore, it’s the marketplace that determines the level of sponsorship. “The years that have been more difficult in terms of funding, it’s about what’s happening in the marketplace,” she told us. She says they’ve already started working on the slate of sponsors for next year. The sponsors help determine festival activities, like the digital events and labs.
In addition to that, the festival operates on a strict budget.
“We’re lean and mean and we have money to make it happen,” said Glore.
Historically, Urbanworld has showcased some big-name movies. Collateral, starring Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise debuted there. Night Catches Us with Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington opened there two years ago. And there were the showings of both Barbershop films and Secret Life of Bees, among others.
Though many of the movies that the festival screens aren’t necessarily blockbusters on the level of Twilight, they are successful (as that list shows). More than that, they give famous actors the chance to attach themselves to indie projects that they’re passionate about. And it gives filmmakers a chance to show their work in a theater, something that many of them might not otherwise be able to do.
“We definitely don’t characterize ourselves as a black film festival,” said Glore, while acknowledging that many of the films they include involve African American artists. “There’s a cross-cultural sensibility that reflects what America looks like.”
Which is very good for enlisting sponsors. ”Companies want to align with brands and with what’s the future,” Glore adds.
Among the other films showing this year are Won’t Back Down, about reform at an inner city school starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rosie Perez; The Girl is In Trouble a crime movie starring Columbus Short, boasting executive producer Spike Lee and directed by Julius Onah; and the closing night film, Middle of Nowhere, directed by another Root 100 honoree, Ava DuVerney, who was the first African American to win the director’s prize at Sundance for this movie.
For the complete Urbanworld schedule, click here.
Ava DuVernay is one of the few Black filmmakers making waves in the industry. In January, she became the first black woman to win the best director award at the Sundance Film Festival for her film “Middle of Nowhere.” The filmmaker sat down with 24wired.tv to discuss why she supports Tyler Perry, the need for more black film directors and the honor of winning Sundance. She’s definitely a Black woman we respect and admire.
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