“Selma” director Ava DuVernay will lead the international competition jury at this year’s Mumbai Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5. The 17th edition of the festival opens with director Hansal Mehta’s Hindi-language “Aligarh,” which follows a professor in central India suspended from his position after he’s accused of being gay.
The filmmaker, whose other films include “I Will Follow” (2010), “Middle of Nowhere” (2012), and the ESPN “Nine for IX” documentary “Venus Vs.,” is currently at work developing Natalie Baszile’s novel “Queen Sugar” into a scripted original series for OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. (She also directed the pilot for the CBS drama “For Justice,” starring Phylicia Rashad and set inside the FBI’s Civil Rights Division.) Like other indie auteurs, including Steven Soderbergh (“The Knick“) and Jill Soloway (“Transparent“), DuVernay has seized the opportunity offered by “peak TV” and will write, direct, and executive produce “Queen Sugar,” which features Winfrey herself in a recurring role.
“The freedom that artists can have at OWN is something I want a lot of people to know about,” DuVernay told ABC Radio in September, teasing the New Orleans-set drama as a “big, sweeping romance.” The series debuts in 2016.