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Ava DuVernay Named Guest Artistic Director of AFI Fest 2022

The news comes 12 years after DuVernay's feature directorial debut "I Will Follow" screened at the festival.

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay

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AFI Fest has found its next guest artistic director. The prestigious role, which has previously been filled by the likes of David Lynch and Pedro Almodóvar, will go to “Selma” director Ava DuVernay for the 2022 iteration of the festival.

The festival announced that DuVernay had selected three independent films from female directors to showcase: Kat Candler’s “Hellion” from 2014, Aurora Guerrero’s “Mosquita y Mari” from 2012, and Victoria Mahoney’s “Yelling to the Sky” from 2011. All three women went on to direct episodes of DuVernay’s OWN series “Queen Sugar.” DuVernay will also moderate a panel featuring all three directors at the festival.

AFI Fest 2022 is set to take place in Los Angeles from November 2 through November 6. Apple documentary “Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me” is set to open the Hollywood-set festival, with films including “Bardo,” “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” “Is That Black Enough for You?,” “Living,” “She Said,” and “The Son” also announced so far. “The Fabelmans” will close the festival.

“AFI Fest holds a special place in my heart and career. My feature directorial debut ‘I Will Follow’ made its Los Angeles premiere at AFI FEST 2010,” DuVernay said in a statement announcing the news. “I still remember the feeling of validation and encouragement. It meant so much to me as a first-time woman director to be seen and embraced. So, it is a true honor to be invited to serve as the Guest Artistic Director. In this position, I’ve chosen to spotlight the role of women directors in independent cinema by sharing the work of three remarkable helmers: Kat Candler, Aurora Guerrero and Victoria Mahoney.”

She continued, “This trio of filmmakers cut their teeth in indie film and have gone onto direct dynamic work in all formats following their television debuts on my series ‘Queen Sugar.’ With this programming, I want to wave a flag for what can happen when women have the opportunity and support that is consistent with our male counterparts. Beautiful things blossom. My thanks to AFI Fest for agreeing with and amplifying that notion.”

DuVernay’s most recent feature film as a director was the 2018 Disney remake “A Wrinkle in Time.” In 2022, she directed episodes of the TV series “Queen Sugar,” “DMZ,” and “One Perfect Shot.”

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