Filmmaker Ava DuVernay on the Creative Process, and the Intersection of Art and Activism

The award-winning director discusses what informs her films, and what comes next

Ava DuVernay might be the most generous director of her generation. She’s impossibly busy. Currently, she’s shooting, writing and editing her television series, Queen Sugar, which just had its Season 3 premiere late last month on OWN. Plus, she’s in preproduction for her Netflix mini-series, Central Park Five. And, oh yeah, she’s got another documentary in the works (though she’s not ready to talk about that one yet). Plus, she’s got a few other TV shows cooking—a pilot, Red Line, at CBS, and a comedy reportedly based on Colin Kaepernick’s high school years. There’s also an HBO movie, Battle of Versailles. And then, of course, she’ll helm DC Comics’ New Gods. Did we mention she’s just finished her first stint as a jury member for the Cannes Film Festival? It’s the kind of busy that would overwhelm most people, but even with her chaotic schedule DuVernay always seems to make time to prop up other creators, to inspire young minds, to say thank you and to give someone a kind word even if they haven’t been as kind to her.

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This story first appeared in the June 11, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.