Ava DuVernay Says Hollywood’s A “Bunch of Closed Doors”
"In terms of cinema, it's really clear that the rest of us are locked out."
NBC recently interviewed Selma director Ava DuVernay about social activism in art and her own experiences in the industry. DuVernay discusses how Ferguson, Michael Brown, and media coverage of those events influenced Selma, among other things.
DuVernay is amazingly vocal about diversity and representation, and the interviewer Trymaine Lee asked her if it ever gets “too heavy.” She replies that it does get tiring, especially in interviews where she isn’t given the opportunity her “white male counterparts” have to talk about film craft.
One of the reasons why I created the podcast called the “The Call-In” that we do through Array, because as a black artist, every time I sit down with mainstream media I’m asked about issues of race, identity and culture. No one asked what they ask my white male counterparts, which is: ‘Where do you like to put the camera?’ ‘How did you come up with that palette?’ ‘What was your conversation with your cinematographer?’ ‘How did you cast that person?’ I never get asked just film craft questions.
That being said, she’s always very inspiring when she talks about supporting marginalized artists. When asked if she felt like Hollywood was “actively putting up locks” DuVernay said absolutely:
Sure, that’s all Hollywood is, is locks. A whole bunch of closed doors. Any film that you see that has any progressive spirits that is made by any people of color or a woman is a triumph, in and of itself. Whether you agree with it or not. Something that comes with some point of view and some personal prospective from a woman or a person of color, is a unicorn. Because truly the numbers that were just announced by [the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism] are dismal when it comes to women filmmakers, even worse, horrible, horrific when it comes to women of color filmmakers.
When you just imagine that there’s one type of voice that’s really being pushed to the forefront is the white male voice. In terms of cinema, it’s really clear that the rest of us are locked out. So it becomes imperative that people—audiences that want to see that, fight for it, push for it. Support it when it comes, but also artists just become really vocal. So, yeah, it’s a whole bunch of locked doors.
I recommend reading the entire interview at NBC, where DuVernay talks about making films she wants to make and Image activism. The world needs her and I’m happy to hear that DuVernay plans on making films until she’s “an old lady.”
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]