middle of nowhere

10

“If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.”

On her birthday, here is the infallible, authentic, and pioneering Queen Ava DuVernay collaborating on her many sets.

“Let Ava DuVernay tell the stories she wants to tell in the way she wants to tell them. If one of these stories just so happens to center around a man in spandex, then DuVernay has already exhibited the necessary skill and strength to make this movie, free of studio mandates, legacy liabilities, and fanboy entitlements. At this point, I’d watch her direct a drivers ed tutorial. Like the great cinematic genre-hoppers who came before her, DuVernay’s directorial print contains multitudes, and the future of cinema suddenly seems a hell of a lot brighter knowing that her inimitably unpredictable vision is a part of it.” — Matthew Eng

(Source: TribecaFilm.com)

7

Warning: pictures graphic to sensitive viewers.

Yes that is a pit of dead cows. Yes I totally crawled into it.

I’m currently hanging around this creepy ass town in the middle of nowhere Arkansas, area is known for animal mutilations and being down right creepy.
There’s a certain spot I like to hang around though, there use to be a train track that had came through , strange cryptic sighting, you find hundreds of cows skeletons around, and other creatures.
The pictures above of the pit is the easiest spot to get to during the summer, and has some of the most complete skeletons I can find.
It’s strange though, scavengers avoid the area as much as they can, and nothing has tried eating them. Flies keep away to. But I loot what I can, there was approx 30 cow skulls at varying ages in the pit, most of them underneath the bodies.
Since it was a long walk and I had to climb down some cliffs, I only took one skull with me, the large bull skull next to the female with her jaw intact. I would have loved to keep the female but carrying a fragile jaw and skull down cliffs didn’t seem very smart. So I set the female on a post I found in the field to look out at the yellow flowers that were growing.
I may or may not go back at some point, but stranger things are happening. The area that the bodies are located are usually avoided by the cows, but I found tracks from a day or to back deep into the area running through brush, yet no tracks in pursuit. A strong smell of death lingered, but I couldn’t locate anything dead except for a few chicken feathers.

Ava DuVernay b. August 24, 1972

DuVernay is an American filmmaker and distributor. 

She graduated from UCLA with a double major in English literature and Africa-American studies. After graduation DuVernay began to work as a publicist for movies, eventually creating her own successful publicity firm. From 1999 to 2011 she is credited as doing publicity work on nearly 100 films and TV shows. While doing the work DuVernay developed a desire to become a filmmaker in her own right.  

In 2006 she directed her first short film Saturday Night Life. She followed this up with several short documentaries. In 2010 she made her feature film debut with the film I Will Follow which she entirely self-funded using $50,000 of her own money. Unable to find a distributor willing to release the film theatrically she created the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) and distributed the film herself.

By 2012 DuVernay made her second film Middle of Nowhere. With the film DuVernay achieved a long-standing goal to have her work shown at the Sundance Film Festival. Not only was it screened in the U.S. dramatic competition category but DuVernay also won the Best Director award making her the first African-American woman to win that category. 

Despite the festival success of Middle of Nowhere no distributors were willing to give the movie a theatrical release. DuVernay again released her film via AFFRM. She was offered work directing TV and commercials, but no movie offers came her way. In 2013 however David Oyelowo, who had starred in Middle of Nowhere, was attached to the movie Selma which had recently lost director Lee Daniels who wanted more money to make the film. Oyelowo asked the producers to consider hiring DuVernay which they did as she was willing to make the film for a budget of $20 million, re-write the script with no credit and the limitation that none of Martin Luther King jr’s speeches could actually be used. 

Selma was DuVernay’s first film with a studio distributor, an awards campaign, and a wide release. She became the first black woman nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director and the first black woman to direct a Best Picture nominee at the Oscars. 

In 2015 DuVernay, who had kept AFFRM open and continued to give theatrical distribution to small films directed and or/starring African-Americans, partnered with Netflix and re-branded her company as ARRAY revealing that the scope of the distribution company would now also include a mandate to focus on films directed by women. 

The following year DuVernay partnered with Oprah’s company OWN to create the miniseries Queen Sugar for which she hired a directorial crew made up entirely of women. She also announced that she had secretly been filming a documentary called 13th, which would debut at the 2016 New York Film Festival making her the first person to have a documentary open the festival and the first black woman to open the festival. DuVernay also became the first black female director to be nominated for Best Documentary for her work on the film 

She is currently working on an adaptation of the book A Wrinkle in Time for Disney, a film with a budget of over $100 million making her only the fifth woman and first black woman to direct a live-action movie with a budget that size. 

I grew up in a matriarchy, in a family of all women. I don’t understand a structure where women aren’t making decisions; that’s a foreign thing for me. Not that you can’t work with men, but the fact that there would be such an imbalance to any kind of process, whether government or industry, is uncomfortable for me. When I was able to dictate what my space would be and who I would be around and who would be around me, I was just striving for balance.
—  Ava DuVernay
5

I just want to talk about female directors as well: Gina Prince-Bythewood, Amma Asante — we have to celebrate these women. [Selma] is about embracing the vote, utilizing the vote. Support these women, vote for them at the box office

David Oyelowo accepting the NAACP IMAGE Award for Best Actor for Selma

David Oyelowo directed by women filmography

Circles dir. Sonia Castang - 2001
Tomorrow La Scala! dir. Francesca Joseph - 2002
Shoot the Messenger dir.  Ngozi Onwurah - 2006
Rage dir. Sally Potter - 2009
96 Minutes dir. Aimee Lagos - 2011
Middle of Nowhere dir. Ava DuVernay - 2012
Selma dir. Ava DuVernay - 2014
9 Kisses dir. Elaine Constantine - 2014
Five Nights in Main dir. Maris Curran - 2015
Nina dir. Cynthia Mort - 2015
Queen of Katwe dir. Mira Nair - 2016
A United Kingdom dir. Amma Asante - 2016
August 28th: A Day In the Life of a People - Ava DuVernay - 2016
Untitled Hurricane Katrina Project dir. Ava DuVernay - ????