Ava DuVernay and the team behind her Netflix megahit When They See Us have a lot to celebrate. The award-winning director won Breakthrough Series – Long Form at Monday night’s Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York City for her work on the program, which told the true story of the Central Park Five.

When They See Us centers on the five then-teenage boys–Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray and Kevin Richardson–who were wrongfully convicted of raping jogger Trisha Meili in 1989. The men were later exonerated in 2002 after spending between six and 13 years in prison. Today, they are known as “The Exonerated Five.”

Loading the player...

DuVernay took the stage and used her acceptance speech to give her list of tips and tricks to remember while directing.

“Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I know the answer,’” she told the audience. “You don’t have to know all the answers. More than half the people’s job on the set is to help you find the answers.”

“Hydrate and moisturize throughout the day. Black does crack,” she quipped. “My mother, who’s here, did teach me that!”

Another big winner was the Canadian starlet Taylor Russell, who won Breakthrough Actor for her turn in the critically acclaimed family filmWaves.

Congrats to the winners!


Loading the player...