Ava DuVernay on the Importance of Helping Young Directors

Ava DuVernay is opening up about the nuances of being a Black female director, sharing that sometimes she’s taken aback by the characters she’s directed.

“Then one time this older white woman came up to me, and I thought, ‘She probably liked Selma,’” she told People magazine. “Instead, she walked up to me and wanted to tell me everything about Ralph Angel Bordelon, the hot young guy on Queen Sugar [her hit series on OWN]. And then I had a Somali man come up to me in the airport and he wanted to talk all about Storm Reid in Wrinkle in Time, and how much he loved her.”

“You never know, we all watch everything now,” she said, adding, “If you can have someone feeling deeply about what you’ve made, then you’ve won.”

Ava hired only female directors to helm the first season of Queen Sugar and is now amplifying a new group of young directors as part of the new series of VR documentaries called New Realities in celebration of the UN’s International Day of the Girl on October 11.

The director is producing the series, which chronicles the individual journeys of a diverse group of 10 young women from Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.

We love Ava! Keep shining a light on the world.