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Ava DuVernay Retrospective + Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture At IU

Ava DuVernay Retrospective + Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture At IU

A formal announcement from the BFC/A of news we shared a little while ago – with full details, ticket info, etc.

Sept. 4, 2013 BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Independent filmmaker Ava DuVernay will visit Indiana University’s Bloomington campus this month, where she’ll screen seven films and deliver a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture.

A writer, producer, director and editor who received the best director award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, DuVernay is also widely known in independent film circles as a maverick businesswoman for the 2011 launch of her film distribution venture, the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement. The organization, known as AFFRM, uses a network of African-American and African diasporic film festivals to achieve wider theatrical distribution for independent films on its roster than otherwise available through dominant distribution channels.

“By challenging the terms of participation for black filmmakers in American cinema, AFFRM is, as DuVernay has said, not so much a business as a call to action,” IU Cinema Director Jon Vickers said. “We are excited to welcome this trailblazer of independent film to IU. DuVernay has had an unprecedented year since her 2012 Sundance recognition, receiving the 2013 John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirits and being named a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.”

DuVernay will speak at 3 p.m. Sept. 20 at IU Cinema. The lecture is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

“Entrepreneur, producer, director and distributor extraordinaire — Ava DuVernay is a show unto herself,” said Michael T. Martin, director of IU’s Black Film Center/Archive, or BFC/A, which led DuVernay’s visit. “Her artistic accomplishments and business acumen have invigorated the black independent cinema movement. We are thrilled to welcome her to campus in September.”

Five of DuVernay’s films and two AFFRM titles will screen at IU Cinema and the BFC/A, in Wells Library Room 044:

    • 7 p.m. Sept. 11, BFC/A, “My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women and Hip-Hop” — DuVernay’s film explores the demise of the female MC in today’s music.
    • 3 p.m. Sept. 15, IU Cinema, “Better Mus’ Come” — The film DuVernay selected to launch AFFRM’s ARRAY label, a love story set against the 1978 Green Bay Massacre.
    • • 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15, IU Cinema, “This Is the Life” — DuVernay’s award-winning directorial debut documents the progressive hip-hop scene in 1990s Los Angeles.
    • 7 p.m. Sept. 18, BFC/A, “Big Words” — In current release through ARRAY, Neil Drumming’s film visits three former members of a hip-hop crew who cross paths on the eve of Obama’s 2008 election.
    • 7 p.m. Sept. 19, IU Cinema, “Venus vs.” — This documentary traces Venus Williams’ courageous call for financial parity for female professional tennis players.
    • 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20, IU Cinema, “Middle of Nowhere” — This film tackles the wide-ranging impact of the prison industrial complex in black communities.
    • 9:30 p.m. Sept. 20, IU Cinema, “I Will Follow” — A contemplative drama that follows a day in the life of Maye as she packs up the family home after her aunt’s death.

Tickets are not required for the screenings at the BFC/A. All screenings at the IU Cinema are free but ticketed. Tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; one hour before any screening at the cinema; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

DuVernay is scheduled to attend the screenings of “Venus vs.,” “Middle of Nowhere” and “I Will Follow.”

The series is sponsored by the Black Film Center/Archive, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Department of American Studies, Department of Communication and Culture and the Film and Media Studies program.

Grant support for the film series came from the IU Women’s Philanthropy Council, while the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series is made possible through the support of the Ove W Jorgensen Foundation.

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"Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding. Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City, Atlanta Georgia, Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee — the cry is always the same: "We want to be free." ~ From MLK's "I've Been To The Mountain Top"

I choose that quote because something strange is happen these days. Not just on the freedom and racial equality front but, when I read this post I couldn't help but wonder, as Marvin said, "What's Going On?"

Well, to be specific, I find it strange or ironic that a few white institutions, not noted for housing black faces nor considered the hotbed of liberalism, are championing some of our more "controversial" black artist. Check this out:

Inventory of the Oscar Micheaux Society Papers, 1976-2004:
Abstract: The Oscar Micheaux Society formed in the early 1990s to promote the study of the early African-American film director, writer, and producer Oscar Micheaux.

Oscar Micheaux Society has newsletters, production files, administrative materials, and correspondence regarding grants, restoration projects, Micheaux-related events and exhibits, and black film scholarship. ~ Duke University

And this–> Spike Lee has been announced as the recipient of this year's Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, was established by actress Lillian Gish who starred in D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation.

WOW! Duke University, Oscar Micheaux, Spike Lee and D.W. Gritith's Birth of a Nation are indeed an odd set of bedfellows.

Now we have Ava Duvernay and Indiana. Well, while I was in the U.S. Air Force I once was stationed in Indiana. One day I became a bit tired of eating base food so a trip off the base was in order. I stopped by a Kentucky Fried Chicken in a town called Peru, where I was met by the looks of "We know you're not trying to buy food in this establishment?". But, you know, having worn black skin all my life I was accustom to racist stares so I stepped up to the counter and ordered my food. Before I could finish ordering my 10 piece family meal ( I was going to take some back to my buddies and a woman I was trying to impress) I was stopped in my tracks…"We don't have no chicken" said the dirty fingered white guy. How could that be, there was people eating chicken and I was at a KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN, but I was cool. I told Bubba that I'd wait for the next batch to come out. He said there was not going to be any chicken – tonight – for ME.

Anyway, taking a line from a R. Dean Taylor song "Indiana ( once the home of The Grand Wizard of the KKK) wants me, Lord I can't go back there" but they welcomed Ava Duvanay with open arms. "She was amazing, generous and goodspirited over the whole four days. Thank you Ava for being so sweet and engaging. You inspired me so much".

Btw, R. Dean Taylor is a white guy who recorded on the Motown label.

All that to say, this sure is a strange world we live in. And Hat tip to Ava for walking in the right direction, leading black folks the right way.


She was amazing, generous and goodspirited over the whole four days. Thank you Ava for being so sweet and engaging. You inspired me so much.

beks c.

a drive from chitown might be in order

Drama Queen

Seeing all her films and films she's supporting is impressive. And this isn't even all of em. Sista puts in major work. Much respect.


Dang I wished they had her when I was there :(


I wish I was in the area to attend this event.

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