After a career in the PR world, director Ava DuVernay transitioned into being a filmmaker in 2007. In 2010 she debuted her first feature, “I Will Follow” and the following year developed a theatrical distribution collaborative, AFFRM, to other support black filmmakers. “Middle of Nowhere” (US Dramatic) is her second feature. She says she doesn’t have an expectation for how she wants people to feel after seeing the film; “Success for me is for someone to think about the characters, a line they say, a scene they live in, a look on their face, the next day or the following week. Whatever you think about it, just think about it. Just feel something.”
What’s it about: ‘Middle of Nowhere’ follows a woman named Ruby who lost her husband to incarceration and lost herself in the process.
Says director DuVernay: “I’ve been to Park City as a publicist nine times. I’ve seen filmmakers go with fear and spend the whole time fretting and competing and just being miserable. Its no way to go. Whatever happens is going to happen. Whatever people will think, they’ll think. Freaking out about it isn’t going to change the outcome. Just love what you made and go share it. Then, hang with other filmmakers, see films and drink in being in the midst of other artists and advocates. Anything other than that, I can’t control and don’t want to try. I want the experience to be beautiful and it can’t be if I’m not truly taking it all in. Truthfully, I just want to enjoy it. That’s all.
“My personal cinematic inspiration though, in terms of narrative and nuance, was a classic film called ‘Nothing But A Man.’ Its one of the rare films that shows black love steeped in honesty and hardship and everyday beauty. I wanted to revisit this idea of love that’s not necessarily love at first sight, or love as some involuntary reflex. But love as choice. Love and hope when its damn hard. Yet still beautiful and deeply rooted. ‘Nothing But A Man’ is that. Big inspiration.”
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.
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