This-is-the-Life

Ava DuVernay and “No Permission” Filmmaking

Selma director Ava DuVernay’s “Don’t Ask for Permission” philosophy to making films is well-embodied in her creative output. One may find the inspiration needed for starting an artistic career or fueling it through DuVernay’s own story which establishes that a rebellious attitude can still lead to beautiful aesthetics and emotionally captivating stories that engage viewers to the deep realities that surround us. As a creative, she inspires us to march towards the career paths we seek, and as a filmmaker, she inspires us to push filmmaking towards that golden revelation of art: it ought to shed light on our human experiences and reveal, in its reflection of ourselves, truths. Tribeca presents an essential one-hour interview with film director Ava DuVernay by hip-hop pioneer Q-Tip, in which the director motivates us to pursue our artistic destinies because, truth be told, if you are a true artist, an artistic existence is inevitable.

On Hollywood’s Gender Bias and Not Waiting for Permission

Among the filmmaking gems Ava DuVernay offers to filmmakers and artists, a vital one is her insistence on not waiting or asking for permission in order to pursue your creative endeavors. There is nothing to ask permission for, don’t ask for permission. Half of us are waiting for permission; someone to say okay, someone to say do it, someone to say that is a good idea, someone to give you the money, someone to give you the resources. That’s all working from a permission-based way. When I just decided I’m just going to work with what I’ve got and give myself the permission, then it really started…Once I started, I never stopped, but the starting was the hard part–just beginning with what you have…That’s the biggest tip: is to start. It may not be the dream project, it may not be perfect. Begin. Whatever it is. If it’s the writing, if it’s the acting, if it’s the directing, producing, whatever it is that you wan to do, just get started. To wait for the perfect conditions in order to work as an artist entails waiting a long time only because “the right time” truly never exists. Whether factors outside of our control or internal ones that challenge our sense of self, there can always be something that convinces us to wait just a little longer. To be an artist means to make art, and so it is necessary to see “the right time” as simply being the moment you choose to take action.

Even a baby step towards your creative career is a step in the right direction. What is important is to keep on the path despite obstacles, to continue taking steps in order for your work to evolve as well as your artistic personality because once your artistic personality begins to shine a brand is projected, and, hopefully, it attracts business which in turn transforms you into a professional. Again, for this to become a reality, action must be taken and maintained and continued. As DuVernay suggests, My motto is “Stay Shooting, #StayShooting.” If I could tattoo it, I would, but my mom said no more tattoos. I’m always shooting. There’s not been, since I started shooting, any period of inactivity in general–there might be gap in films–but I’m doing TV or I’m doing a doc, or I’m doing a commercial, or I’m doing a video. Constantly shooting is what the goal is. I started as a publicist in the industry, so I was a publicist for a lot of filmmakers, and I would see the struggle, especially for black filmmakers or people of color in general, and definitely women and definitely women of color, this period of inactivity, or this moment of trying to figure out once you did it, how you do it again within the construct of the industry. And so for me, I made my first feature film when I was 38, so it’s never too late. I just started from the outside. I never started to work within the industry, within the architecture of the industry as we know it, so I didn’t come up to a lot of resistance because I found my people and I started making films in my own space, in my own way. Now eventually those start to intersect with the industry.

On Black Complexities in Music and Film

Sooner or later, the progression of yourself as an artist reveals a unique voice to the audience. Through three films–Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a SlaveSteve McQueen established a poetic handling of socially impacting film stories. The same goes for Ava DuVernay. Like McQueen and DuVernay, the great filmmakers reflect their own artistic personalities onto the screen. They pursue projects that not only challenge them but that speak to them, as if showing that they have a duty to express their inner worlds, to put on the screen the films they want to see. DuVernay explains, What my mission is in all of my work, truly, is to magnify the magnificence of Black people, which is basically a longer way to say that Black Lives Matter…If we don’t do it, who’s going to do it? If the woman filmmaker doesn’t take special care of the women characters, who does it because it’s not going to be the man? If the Black filmmaker doesn’t take special care of it, who’s going to do it? It’s not going to be the filmmaker who doesn’t know it. There are some instances where special things shine through, but, overall, I feel that it’s no one else’s responsibility to make the things that I want to see. It’s my responsibility, and if I want to see them, then I need to make them, if I’m able, and I am, so I do. As a filmmaker, it is a tremendous decision to take on a project since filmmaking is a time-consuming art form. For DuVernay, it is essential to be in a happy marriage with your vision.

The question for the artist will always be “Is it worth it?” In pursuing a career as an artist, it is necessary to distinguish between projects that are made for you and that are not made for you. DuVernay sheds light on this so well: Something about the energy with which a film is made is felt by the audience. You can tell what is made with joy, passion, with the spirit. Why is joy, passion, and filmmaking with the spirit so important? Because the filmmaker is not just directing a film but also directing the experience of making a film.

On Spike Lee and Being Pigeonholed by Hollywood Post-Selma

More filmmaking gems abound Tribeca’s presentation with Ava DuVernay. From surrounding yourself with creative energy and people, to accepting your writing process even if that means embracing procrastination, or learning how to avoid being pigeonholed as a filmmaker and taking on projects that reflect your interests and passions, DuVernay will inspire every filmmaker and artist viewing this one-hour interview. Enjoy!

This is the life
Reggie N Bollie
This is the life

 
New Music: Reggie ‘N’ Bollie – This Is The Life

Our long term followers will know that we have been supporting Reggie ‘N’ Bollie from when they were formally known as Menn On Point. Now the Ghanaian duo have recently released the audio to their brand new single “This Is The Life” which was self-released on their newly launched label.

An energetic anthem, that hears them fusing an eclectic blend of Dancehall and Afrobeats, “This Is The Life” sees Reggie ‘N’ Bollie go back to the roots of the music they love to create and enjoy.

Sure to get you moving and grooving, “This Is The Life” has carnival vibe all over it.

Listen, Share and Enjoy “This Is The Life”.

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