Ava DuVernay is doing her part to increase the dismal number of Black directors in Hollywood.
Earlier this week, the Selma director organized a Twitter “Rebel-a-thon,” in which she virtually gathered 42 Black filmmakers to offer their advice to young and aspiring filmmakers. Each filmmaker who participated had an hour-long slot where they could engage in an honest conversation with up-and-comers on how to increase Black visibility in Hollywood. The event was sponsored by DuVernay’s African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AAFRM), whose mission is to release indie films from Black filmmakers.
“Don’t have to be Black to support Black film,” DuVernay said in a tweet. “Or brown for brown, etc. Allies come in all stripes.”
Lasting all day on Wednesday, the chat attracted big-name directors like Tyler Perry and Oprah, who briefly joined the conversation, as well as people who have seen recent success, such as Justin Simien (Dear White People) and Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station). Perry told people that it was important not to be discouraged by rejection from the mainstream media.
Indie director Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty) commended DuVernay’s passion and encouraged other filmmakers to follow in her footsteps.
“Ava is spearheading this effort, and her skill, talent, bravery and generosity are unprecedented,” Nance wrote to The Guardian. “What she is doing is very necessary, and the rest of us should feel a responsibility to build institutions with each other and act in our collective interest.”