Meeting the director of an amazing film is any creative person’s dream. Meeting a director like Ava DuVernay is a dream come true. She is not only a visionary, she is passionate, she’s raw, she’s real.
Prior to meeting DuVernay to interview her regarding A Wrinkle In Time, I watched two of her previous movies. 13th, which was nominated for an Academy Award and won four Emmys as well as BAFTA and Peabody Awards, is said to be one of the most critically-acclaimed films of 2016.
I also watched DuVernay’s historical drama Selma, which was nominated for four Golden Globe awards and two Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Selma is an amazing piece of work, and if you haven’t seen it, you should go watch it!
Our interview with Ava was filled with so much emotion. Laughter, tears, joy, excitement… it was all there, and it was all real. This one interview, out of all the interviews we did for the Wrinkle In Time Event, was hands down the most impactful for me.
Treat Others With Kindness
One thing that really stuck with me during this interview was when we brought up something that was mentioned in a previous interview with Rowan Blanchard. Rowan had told us how she got to shadow Ava as a director and she was so impressed that she (Ava) knew everyone’s name.
Question: One thing Roman said which was amazing to hear because it was so about pro power, she said Ava knows everyone’s name on set. Ava’s loyal to everybody and she succeeds because she brings people up with her. How does it make you feel?
Ava: That’s kind. Why would you not? I used to be a crew member. I used to be a publicist and on sets, I would be only one of the few women and one of the few black people and probably the only black woman so many times, but regardless of who so many directors just didn’t know their crew members’ names. I thought how disrespectful.
These people were here before you got out of your trailer. They set up the trailer that you can go into. This is someone’s father or mother who’s been here since five o’clock in the morning. Everyone’s working hard. Like how do you walk past people and not know their name? And yet that’s the culture of our industry.
It’s the culture of a lot of industries in this country. It’s like the people that are in “higher” positions just don’t even [care].
My father, recently departed, laid carpet and flooring in people’s homes and he would come and he’s the kind of guy that you would pass by, just pass him by. My aunt, Denise, who passed away some years ago, who I really know would love this movie, was a nurse at night. She would take the bus. She was the kind of person you would just pass by and no one knows how extraordinary they were. They were great people. You can’t pass people by.
You have to know people’s names. You have to treat people with weakness.
This was an emotional conversation but you could tell with every breath and every word that Ava spoke, she meant exactly what she said. I’m so glad the younger generation have her to look up to as a role model!
A Movie For Children
We also asked Ava about her desire to make a children’s movie, as she had said over and over again that this was a movie for kids. She even geared it a specific age range, 8 – 12yr olds.
Ava: I just really wanted to make a film for kids right now. I don’t have children. I don’t have children by choice. I always said that my films are my children. I put my blood into them. It’s what I’ll leave behind in the world and so to be able to make something specifically for kids today, something that I hope endures for kids for a long time to come was very emotional to me.
Another thing that really impressed me was when we discussed taking into account the opinions of the kids she was working with. She said they approached the story in a way that took into account how kids want to see themselves portrayed on film.
Ava: They (kids) liked not to be talked down to and a lot of times in kids movies, at the studio they were like “it should be more jokes, kids like to laugh”. Yes, kids like to laugh but kids also like to think. They like to feel and so, you know, at first 30 minutes of the movie it’s just about Meg. There’s no magic, you know.
For 30 minutes we make you sit down and sync into the heart of a young girl and she’s trying to figure out things, struggling at school, struggling with the bullies, struggling with an absentee father, all those things.
Ava DuVernay is definitely someone I want to see directing more films, and if I ever had the chance to work with her… I’d jump on it! (Not that I ever would have that chance, but just saying…) 🙂
Read my full A Wrinkle In Time movie review HERE and see why I think you NEED to take your kids to see it!
A Wrinkle In Time is now playing in theaters!