Ava DuVernay and Array Releasing, her film collective dedicated to promoting films by women and people of color, will receive this year’s Spirit of Independence Award at the LA Film Festival. The award honors “individuals who advance the cause of independent film, champion creative freedom or make a significant contribution to the preservation and proliferation of independent voices.”
Film Independent president Josh Welsh stated, “We can’t imagine a more fitting recipient of the Spirit of Independence Award than Ava DuVernay and her distribution company Array Releasing. In addition to being a brilliant filmmaker, Ava is a passionate, forward-thinking distributor, helping unique and diverse voices find their audiences.”
Array Releasing is an LA-based film collective and has previously had success at the LA Film Festival. At last year’s LA Film Festival, two of their projects won prizes at the fest, “Out of My Hand” and “Ayanda.” The collective has also released women-directed films “Mississippi Damned” directed by Tina Mabry, “Vanishing Pearls” by Nailah Jefferson and DuVernay’s own “Middle of Nowhere” and “I Will Follow.”
In December, Mattel’s limited edition Ava DuVernay Barbie sold out in a staggering 17 minutes, proving the director is not only a major player in the film world, but has an intensely devoted group of fans.
In the last several months, several major DuVernay projects were announced as the director was tapped for projects at Disney and HBO. DuVernay will direct a big screen adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel, “A Wrinkle in Time.” The director is also set to direct “The Battle of Versailles,” the story of an iconic 1973 fashion show that took place at France’s Palace of Versailles, pitting French fashion designers against five then-unknown American designers.
DuVernay is also writing, directing and executive producing “Queen Sugar,” a drama series she co-created with Oprah Winfrey. The show will air on OWN.
The LA Film Festival will take place June 1-9 at ArcLight Cinemas.