Ava DuVernay: Critics shouldn't be surprised by minority movie success

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 7 June 2016
Ava DuVernay with David Oyelowo

Ava DuVernay with David Oyelowo

Ava DuVernay insists film critics shouldn't be surprised when a minority movie does well, using the example of 'Straight Outta Compton' which amassed an impressive £139 million at the box office worldwide

Ava DuVernay says critics shouldn't be surprised when a minority movie does well.

The 'Selma' director has used the example of 'Straight Outta Compton', which shocked critics up and down the country when it successfully obtained £139 million at the box office worldwide.

Speaking to collect her Spirit of Independence award at the Los Angeles Film Festival, she said: "Not only was it a surprise [to critics], but I remember a CNN headline saying 'Compton film debuts with no shootings at theatres'.

"It's not just the fact that a [black] film can do well, it's the fact that there's a community around it, that there's conversation around it, that a film can push a national moment forward, can be a piece of art. All of the things that surround films of colour seem to be a surprise.

"And really, it's just selective amnesia because it's not like it hasn't happened before, that it doesn't continue to happen. But I think it's part of making films within a patriarchy, which is what we do."

However, the 43-year-old filmmaker is feeling positive about the future.

She added: "You're starting to get into a space where we get to see something we have not seen, which are black filmmakers with a hearty amount of resources," she noted. "Isn't that exciting? We've never seen it! What is it even going to look like?"

Meanwhile, Ava previously admitted she shed a tear watching biopic 'Straight Outta Compton'.

In a series of tweets, she wrote: "All the stifling of our voices as young black people in that place at that time while a war was going on against us. ‪[F Gary Gray] captured it. He captured the plight of the black artist in general, once consumed by systems and structures not made for them. The struggle is real.

"To be a woman who loves hip-hop at times is to be in love with your abuser. Because the music was and is that. And yet the culture is ours. Hundreds of black young people cruisin' down Crenshaw. The raw energy. The cars. The brothers and sisters. The majesty of it all. A tear. It was maybe a one-minute sequence in the film but it all came rushing back. This film did that for me on multiple levels. It's fantastic."

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