Ava Duvernay Makes History As First Black Woman In Venice Film Fest Competition

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 05: Ava Duverney attends the guest artistic director panel with Ava Duverney at the AFI Fest 2022 at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on November 05, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)
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The Venice Film Festival revealed the lineup for its 80th edition. The festival’s Official Competition chose projects by five women filmmakers. One being Ava DuVernay, who makes history as the first Black woman selected in the festival’s history.

There are 23 films in Competition overall. The festival said 32% of submissions this year were from women filmmakers against 66% from male filmmakers. 60 movies did not declare a gender.

DuVernay’s Origin is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. DuVernay and Wilkerson co-wrote the script. It focuses on how the country’s never-ending racism is a direct by-product of America’s deeply rooted caste system. The cast includes Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Niecy Nash-Betts, Audra McDonald, Blair Underwood, and Myles Frost.

This feat is not th efirst time DuVernay has made waves at festivals. In 2012, she became the first Black woman to win Sundance’s dramatic competition with her second feature Middle of Nowhere, and in 2018 she served on the Cannes Competition jury.

DuVernay’s last feature project was Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time. The film starred Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon. Other DuVernay-directed films include Netflix’s 13th and MLK-biopic Selma.