- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Pinit
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Email
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
"I was a publicist for other people's movies," she groans. Among the projects DuVernay was pushing at the time: Clint Eastwood's South African rugby drama Invictus and the Bruce Willis-Tracy Morgan buddy comedy Cop Out. Still, she carved out enough time to finish her feature helming debut I Will Follow, which led to her breakout project Middle of Nowhere. The latter won the best director prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, marking the first time an African-American woman nabbed the honor.
The 43-year-old Compton native, who counts Oprah as a pal and frequent collaborator, saw her Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma land a best picture nomination and become one of the top-reviewed films of 2014. Buoyed by both her success and her 135,000 Twitter followers, DuVernay has morphed into one of the most forceful voices advocating for female filmmakers and stories about people of color. Instead of taking up Marvel on its offer to direct the superhero spinoff Black Panther, she's prepping an untitled, Participant-financed Hurricane Katrina project, which marks her next narrative feature. She simultaneously is readying Queen Sugar, her first TV series, which she wrote and will direct and produce for OWN and Warner Horizon. Additionally, she's finishing postproduction on an untitled feature documentary for Netflix that she directed, wrote and produced about the American prison system and its impact on American culture. And if that's not enough, she is expanding her distribution collective Array, doubling the number of films by underrepresented filmmakers that the company releases.