In an Instagram post uploaded yesterday, the Selma director thanked the President and First Lady for their time, their praise and their support.
A gaggle of visionaries could be found at the White House last Friday. Cast and crew of Selma—including the film’s director, Ava DuVernay and its star, David Oyelowo—were invited to the presidential palace to screen their movie with both President Obama and the First Lady to kick off MLK weekend.
Yesterday, DuVernay uploaded an Instagram post that declares what we already expected: the surreality of the entire experience. She thanks the Obamas profusely for their warmth, kindness and the time they spent with the guests.
“It was a moment I don’t have to explain to most,” she wrote under a photo of a silhouette of a man standing under D.C.’s Dr. King memorial. “A moment heavy with history and light with pure, pure joy all at once.”
She looks back to 1915, which is when the first film screened at the White House. That film was Birth of a Nation, or, as it was called at the turn of the century The Klansman. It was a comparison that recognized just how far we’ve come. Pair that with the backdrop of a Black president, and she said it was “as stunning an experience as I’ve ever known.”
“‘I’m proud of you,’ she said to me. ‘We’re proud of you,’ he added,” DuVernay said, referring to President Obama and the First Lady. “I’m proud of them too—of them, of us, of the film, of this moment in my life. Who knows what lies ahead. But what has already occurred is food and fuel and fire and freedom. To President Obama and First Lady Obama, it was a dream I never dreamt, a dream seared in my memory like a scar from a fight won. The kind you look at every now and then, and just nod and smile.”
Check out her entire post below.
Here is a small note that they will never see, but I must post it anyway. Projecting a film that I made with my comrades in the White House for the President and the First Lady – for THIS President and First Lady – was as stunning an experience as I’ve ever known. The first film to ever screen at the White House was “Birth of a Nation” or as it was previously titled “The Klansman.” That was in 1915. Last Friday, “Selma,” a film about justice and dignity, unspooled in that same place in 2015. It was a moment I don’t have to explain to most. A moment heavy with history and light with pure, pure joy all at once. President Obama’s introduction of SELMA in the presidential screening room, the quality time he and the First Lady took with us before and after, the stories he shared with my editor and cinematographer, the praise she gave our dear cast, the handshake he gave my father, the hug she gave my mother, the laughter, the smiles, the extra time they gave us all long, long, long beyond when we were scheduled to go, the warmth, the respect, it was just beyond exquisite. “I’m proud of you,” she said to me. “We’re proud of you,” he added. I’m proud too – of them, of us, of the film, of this moment in my life. Who knows what lies ahead. But what has already occurred is food and fuel and fire and freedom. To President Obama and First Lady Obama, it was a dream I never dreamt, a dream seared in my memory like a scar from a fight won. The kind you look at every now and then, and just nod and smile. I thank you. xo.
A photo posted by Ava DuVernay (@directher) on
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