ava duvernay

Ava DuVernay at the podium at Sundance

*Filmmaker Ava DuVernay made history over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah by becoming the first African American woman to win the Directing Award: Dramatic.

This was a monumental moment for all African Americans industry-wide, as it obviously hasn’t been done before.

Her film, “Middle of Nowhere,” made waves at its reveal last week and now stands testament to DuVernay’s abilities.

The film is a drama that chronicles a woman’s separation from her incarcerated husband and her journey to reconcile her marriage and her identity. She believes her work is really for the Black audience, those who want to see a more well rounded perspective of Black life.

EUR’s Lee Bailey Contacted Ms. DuVernay via Twitter to get her thoughts on the situation. She responded exclusively to us via email:

1. Your immediate/first reaction to winning

I was stunned. Truly shocked. There was another filmmaker there who was heavily rumored to be the winner across all the dramatic categories. So I just went to the ceremony to cheer on other filmmakers and enjoy the party. When my name was called by the wonderful woman director Lynn Shelton, I was floored. Very unexpected.

2. How important is this win  for you personally/professionally

Its important because it shines a light on the film. That’s what’s important to me. That people know about, seek out and experience the film. An award of this profile may draw people to the picture who wouldn’t have checked for it before. And that’s the most beautiful gift of an honor like this. The possibility of more eyeballs. Plus, my Pop and Mom are very proud. That’s always a plus in my book.

3. I assume it will boost the credibility of the film. If you agree, please expound.


By the way, DuVernay’s first film, “I Will Follow” debuted last year March, receiving rave reviews. She’s also the creator of film marketing and publicity firm, The DuVernay Agency.

And before we forget, Congratulations Ava!