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Ava DuVernay Jokes That It’s ‘Not a Pretty Sight’ to Watch Her Direct

"As filmmakers, we're the grungiest."

Ava DuVernay arrives at the 2019 LACMA Art and Film Gala at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in Los Angeles2019 LACMA Art and Film Gala, Los Angeles, USA - 02 Nov 2019

Ava DuVernay

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Ava DuVernay loves being in your head. No, really.

“I pick what I want to get out of the scene,” the “When They See Us” director told InStyle as the magazine’s March cover star. “And through music, color, performance, and words, I’m able to manufacture and change how you think. I can be in your head, and I love it.”

DuVernay, whose films have ranged from “A Wrinkle in Time” to “Selma,” jokingly warned fans that they might want to think twice about joining her on set.

“As filmmakers, we’re the grungiest,” DuVernay said. “When I’m on set directing, it is not a pretty sight. But when I have the occasion to present the work, I want to do whatever I can to promote, to share, to amplify. For me, that’s still a part of the making.”

DuVernay added, “I was a publicist, and I would see so many filmmakers create their film, hand it off to a publicist, and walk away. And it’s like, no. Until it reaches some eyeballs and some minds and hearts, you’re still making this thing.”

The “Naomi” executive producer is behind 2022 SXSW episodic selection “DMZ” and upcoming HBO Max film history docuseries “One Perfect Shot,” based on the popular Twitter cinephile account.

“I invite filmmakers to dissect and talk about the story of getting one shot,” DuVernay explained of the new series. “There are images in each film that make me feel proud. I won’t say which image I’m most proud of, but one that comes to mind that really makes my heart explode is when Storm Reid flies for the first time at the end of ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ She breaks through all the secrets of the universe and becomes one with herself and everything around her.”

DuVernay revealed her goal is to constantly encourage audiences to experience the “highest form” of emotion watching her films. “Whether it’s making you cry with ‘When They See Us’ or making you think and be upset with ’13th’ or making you feel dazzled with ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ I’m always trying to drive that home,” she added.

And DuVernay’s best filmmaking advice to fellow artists?

“It’s being able to go beyond the moment,” DuVernay concluded, “and become a movement in and of yourself.”

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