As Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time opens this weekend, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler wrote a tribute to her grit, her filmmaking genius, and her commitment to inclusivity. “Ava DuVernay is someone who makes the impossible look easy,” Coogler wrote on ESPN W.
In the full letter, he describes DuVernay’s career and her amazing work on films like Selma and shows like Queen Sugar. “Ava is a pioneer,” he writes. “She makes the most distant dreams and ideas a reality. She made a show called Queen Sugar and mandated the use of female directors and key creatives a full two years before the great Frances McDormand shared with the world what an inclusion rider was. Ava is inclusion, equity and representation. Ava is the past, present and future.”
“She is all of these things,” Coogler continues, “but sometimes I forget she is human.”
Coogler then discusses the fact that DuVernay tragically lost her father during the making of 13th, her documentary about racial injustice in the U.S. prison system. She soldiered on through the making of that film, despite her loss, and then turned her talents to A Wrinkle in Time.
“Then she infused the love she had for her father, and her mother who is still with us, into the beautiful film A Wrinkle in Time,” Coogler continues. “I watched closely from across the hall at Disney while working on Black Panther as my big sister inspired her crew with love and navigated the challenges of studio filmmaking, adapting a book that many people called unfilmable into a movie that explodes with hope, with love and with women warriors.”
Coogler closes by celebrating the importance of A Wrinkle in Time for representation. “Above all, it’s a film about a little black girl with glasses—like my mom, like my wife, like my big sister Ava—who refuses to accept that her dad is lost. The main character in the film, Meg, uses her love, her hope and her kickass skills as a scientist to bring him back, and maybe she saves the universe along the way.”
It’s crucial for male artists to talk about female artists with the same reverence and respect that similarly talented male artists receive. Doing so helps to cement women’s place in the canon, and it helps to establish women’s art as universally inspirational rather than a niche that only appeals to women and girls. I’m so glad Coogler took the time to call out the importance of DuVernay’s activism and artistry.
You can read his full letter at ESPNW.
(via The Hollywood Reporter; image: Walt Disney Studios)
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