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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Guldner

Directors I love: Ava DuVerney

Updated: Nov 19, 2018

The truth matters because most of my life I was never exposed to the truths about race and privilege in any of my formative years of schooling.  Not until I started film school did  I have the awesome realization that there were women of all backgrounds telling stories that made an impact on how I saw the world. The problem was there were not enough! Watching a black film narrative with activist intention made an impact on me and Ava DuVerney keeps on blazing a trail for all women striving to have their stories heard. We need more diversity in the stories we see in media to create a conversation such as the impact of mass incarceration in America and the toll it has on the  African-American community. We live in a society that incarcerates more people than any other country in the world.

Ava DuVernay : film director, producer, screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor. She is a women who can do it all!

Middle of Nowhere(2012)  written and directed by Ava DuVerney looks at the effects of incarceration told from the perspective of Ruby played by Emayatzy Corinealdi. Ruby drops out of medical school in order to emotionally support her husband in prison. The 4-hour bus rides, the loneliness, the loss of her life too. No longer able to follow her dreams, her loyalty to a man plays a huge role in how her quality of life takes shape.  How can a love survive with so much time and distance? So many women of color have a similar story of a father, husband, or brother incarcerated but rarely do we hear their point of view.

Middle of Nowhere ( 2012) written and directed by Ava DuVernay. Looking inside out: how prison effects the lives of an African-American couple

Her documentary work such as 13th(2106) interviews scholars and activists to show the viewer how mass incarceration has become a form of institutionalized slavery for African-Americans. the 13th amendment never abolished slavery for African Americans the way most of us are taught to believe through the white lens that shapes media and historical perspectives. Americans are taught through the white male rhetoric in media, history books, and other historical perspectives a story that is so false to the everyday injustices fallen on African American men and families brutalized by a justice system that discounts people of color and provides little or no justice at all. This affects all of us.  Ava DuVerney has a brilliant way of showcasing this in her documentary without creating a one sided point of view. Once we are given historical accuracy the historically white male perspective can be challenged. What Ms. DuVerney does so well is telling stories from a point of view of clarity and real-life perspective, while challenging the status quo. On the positive side, I am grateful that Ava DuVerney's brilliant work is championed and well received. It so rightfully deserves that and so much more. The future is looking bright as Ava DuVerny is blazing a bright trail for all women in film.

Angela Davis in Ava's documentary 13th (2016)

Ava DuVerney is a woman who can really do it all. A director, producer, screenwriter, film marketer, film distributor, Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner, and she also has an amazing film collective called ARRAY which promotes women directors, people of color, and all around awesomeness. Find out more about her films at

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