Few months back I tried to find a “masterclass” (or anything that wouldn’t be a promotional interview and longer than 15 minutes) with Ava DuVernay but I couldn’t. So I was *very* happy to see that the Filmmaker Keynote Address she gave at the Film Independent Forum last weekend went online couple of days ago. (Kudos to Film Independent for sharing their contact so efficiently with the community).
If you are not familiar with DuVernay, she is a filmmaker who first started in the industry’s publicity and marketing side, shot a feature length documentary in 2008, wrote, directed and produced her first feature film for $50, 000 in 2010, and soon after repeated the process with Middle of Nowhere that went on winning Sundance Best Director Prize in 2012. Since then, DuVernay has shot a documentary for ESPN about Venus Williams, an episode for ABC’s TV Show Scandal, is developing her next feature and I am sure has many more projects boiling that we have yet to hear about. Not too shabby.
So, how can someone go from not doing any movies, to having couple of features and high profile gigs under their belt in less than five years? They must have connections or something, right? Well, in DuVernay’s case, the career shift happened after she experienced one simple and decisive realization: she had been wearing the wrong coat all these years. Instead of doing, she had been searching for help to find ways to fill up what she thoughts she needed to get where she wanted to be. (or thought she had to be in order to be able to blablabla… the story goes on). doing vs. much ado about nothing.
In the first part of her inspiring keynote, that you can watch below, Ava DuVernay explains her process realizing the subtle but thick difference between being passionate and desperate, and why it is vital to start doing, in order to… do. Sounds simple.
“The only thing that is going to move you forward is your work. That’s it.”
The keynote’s second half is dedicated to audience’s questions and worth watching as well. It feels that because DuVernay took a different approach, focusing on one specific aspect, a general attitude that everybody can probably relate to, the audience felt at ease to ask different questions too.
DuVernay starts her keynote saying: ‘This won’t be a newsworthy talk.” I am going to disagree on that one.
Watch, enjoy, ponder and share:
Thanks to Shadow and Act.