Ava DuVernay to keynote BlogHer15: Experts Among Us
We're thrilled to announce today that Ava DuVernay, the award-winning director of Selma, will be the closing keynote speaker at #BlogHer15!
Ava will sit down with Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women and Hollywood, in a fireside chat on Saturday evening to discuss DuVernay’s work (and experiences) at the intersection of race, gender, art, and history.
You can expect her to talk about Selma, her film account of the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Our community has followed this film's journey with so much interest: from encouraging people to see it with their kids to being both delighted that she made history as the first black female director whose film received a Best Picture Oscar nomination — and simultaneously distressed about the fact that she was passed over for a Best Director nom herself.
And you can bet Ava will also talk about her upcoming work: She's the executive producer and director of For Justice, a civil rights crime drama pilot for CBS starring Anika Noni Rose as an FBI agent.
AND she's co-created a series with Oprah Winfrey called Queen Sugar, an upcoming original television drama for OWN. It's based on the novel by Natalie Baszile, and will tell the story of a woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana.
(Very interesting, this move to television, no? But then, Ava's already directed an episode of Scandal …)
Ava is also a civil rights activist in her own right. She's the founder of African American Film Releasing Movement to champion filmmakers of color. She finances it out of her own pocket and through donations—just this week, she kicked off a membership drive:
And as if all that weren't enough, Paramount Home Media Distribution also recently announced that every U.S. high school will receive a free DVD of Selma — and Mattel has made a Barbie in her likeness as part of its Sheroes movement (though it's not for sale, sob).
Melissa Silverstein will interview Ava. Melissa founded both Women and Hollywood and the Athena Film Festival as part of her work toward gender parity in entertainment. (In fact, Ava was given an Athena Award in 2013.) Melissa currently has a column on Forbes.com, and has written for the Washington Post and the New York Times. (And, of course, she's a longtime member of the community, too!)