By Jack Barnes
Storytelling is personal for trailblazing director Ava DuVernay—whether she’s helming a documentary on mass incarceration, ensuring all Queen Sugar episodes are directed by women or assembling a multicultural cast for the highly anticipated film, A Wrinkle in Time. For her, the vision starts within. In Essence’s upcoming March issue cover story, Queen Ava, writer Kristal Brent Zook goes inside the world of the woman who’s deconstructing Hollywood.
Essence’s March “Black Women in Hollywood” issue hits newsstands on Friday, 2/17. *DuVernay is also a previous Essence Black Women in Hollywood honoree—the prestigious annual Oscar week event.
AVA ON HER APPROACH TO DIRECTING: “I don’t have to approach film like a man would, or like anybody else I read about, because it’s personal…so there’s no right way or wrong way. Directors talk about their process but that doesn’t have to be my process. My process is where the sets feel very familial, where I like to know my cast personally and where I value who people are more than their names…[It’s important to] imbue the sets and the experience with a sense of myself, a sense of warmth, a sense of family, not shying away from the things…that make me a Black woman, and just embracing those things and letting that come out in the material itself…”
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