Ava DuVernay: Where do directors come from?
In yesterday’s NY Times, I wrote about Ava DuVernay, the screenwriter, filmmaker, publicist and distributor. In the olden days, i.e. the 1980s, she would have been called a “hyphenate.” Today, we call it “multi-tasker.”
She did not take the conventional path, i.e. film school, to movie directing. As she tells it, as a publicist she spent a lot of time on movie sets and thus had a front-row seat at the best film school there is.
Middle of Nowhere, her character study of a wife (Emayatzy Corinealdi) doing time in emotional limbo while her husband (Omari Hardwick) serves a prison sentence , opens Friday (October 12) in five cities, including NY, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Don’t miss it.
Other unconventional routes to the director’s chair? Lee Daniels started out as a casting director. Anne Fletcher and Adam Shankman were choreographers. Agnes Varda and Mira Nair came from still photography, Elaine May and Mike Nichols from stand-up comedy, Alfred Hitchcock and Claude Autant-Lara from production design, Mitchell Leisen from the costume department, Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith from behinds the counter of video stores. Can you think of others?