Ava DuVernay is now the first Black woman to ever be selected for the Venice Film Festival’s Official Competition.
Although the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike has affected the American film industry, international festivals are still ongoing. This year’s Venice Film Festival announced its lineup and even with the exception of Zendaya’s “Challengers,” Black women are still making an impact. Ava DuVernay’s “Origin” was chosen as an Official Selection in the film festival’s competition.
Ava DuVernay Is Heading To Venice
DuVernay directed “Origin” from a screenplay she wrote based on Isabel Wilkerson’s nonfiction book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” Wilkerson and DuVernay co-wrote the script, focusing on the causes of America’s never-ending racism which, according to the film, is a deeply rooted caste system. The film stars Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Niecy Nash-Betts, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, and Connie Nielsen.
According to Deadline, the Competition featured works from five women out of 23 films in total. The five include “Priscilla” (directed by Sofia Coppola), “The Green Border” (directed by Agnieszka Holland), “Woman Of” (directed by Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert), and “Holly” (directed by Fien Troch). Although the number of women-directed films selected for the Competition is low, the festival said that 32% of submissions this year were from women filmmakers while 66% were from male filmmakers. 60 movies did not declare a gender.
DuVernay is not new to making history either. In 2012, she became the first Black woman to win Sundance’s dramatic competition. Her second feature film, “Middle of Nowhere,” was highly touted for its powerful artistry. In 2018, she served on the Cannes competition jury.
Additionally, at the end of last year, the “Selma” director became the first Black woman to be pictured on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The flavor was named Lights! Caramel! Action! and began selling in stores at the top of this year.