Ava DuVernay Joins TCM to Discuss 'The Essentials'

Ava DuVernay - TCM The Essentials Unit - Publicity -H 2019
Courtesy of Turner Entertainment

The filmmaker will introduce films such as 'Marty,' 'Sounder,' 'West Side Story' and 'Cabin in the Sky' this season.

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay is joining Ben Mankiewicz for the latest round of The Essentials on Saturday nights on Turner Classic Movies.

The director behind such films as Selma (2014), 13th (2016) and A Wrinkle in Time (2018) will sit down with the TCM primetime host to introduce a hand-picked movie and offer commentary on its cultural significance, its influence on other films, behind-the-scenes stories and personal reflections.

The new season premieres May 4 at 5 p.m. PT with a screening of best picture winner Marty (1955), starring Ernest Borgnine. Cabin in the Sky (1943), West Side Story (1961), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), La Pointe Courte (1955), Ashes and Embers (1982), Gandhi (1982), Claudine (1974), Sounder (1972), Rashomon (1950) and Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976) are also on the roster.

The full lineup can be seen here.

"What a thrill to be invited to select films for TCM's The Essentials. And what a treat to sit with Ben Mankiewicz to discuss them in delicious detail," DuVernay said in a statement. "The whole experience was a film lover's dream from top to bottom. And the fact that many of my favorite films will be shared with fellow classic movie lovers is a complete honor and a true pleasure."

Said Mankiewicz: "In addition to her lofty standing among the most prominent directors of her generation, Ava DuVernay has established herself as an artist driven by a profound sense of justice and social consciousness. Her transformation from an in-demand movie publicist to a writer-producer-director is a testament not only to her remarkable drive, but her passion for telling stories that represent a broad coalition of voices and perspectives from inside the world of independent African American films.

"Ava's selections for this season of The Essentials are carefully curated," he said. "And these movies are certain to challenge our perspectives, expand our collective cultural conversations around film history, and, I suspect, inspire new audiences to discover these cinematic treasures."