*Originally published on Much Ado About Cinema
When I decided that I wanted to take serious steps to work in film, directing wasn’t even a thought. I didn’t think I was creative enough or simply be good at it. Frankly, I hadn’t really heard of female directors, let alone black female directors. I knew maybe two directors by name, but female directors weren’t known on a name-basis to people outside the industry. I slowly began to consider writing but producing still seemed like the only viable option.
Then, in 2014, my dad caught my attention. He said someone he went to UCLA with directed the movie we were both excited to see, Selma, and that he remembered how hard she worked back when they were in college. So, I look her up to see what else she’s done. While I hadn’t heard of her prior work, I was amazed beyond belief. She was the first black woman to win the jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for a film she wrote and directed, Middle of Nowhere. Before I saw Selma, I was already in awe of what she had accomplished, and once I saw the film, from the very first scene, I was mesmerized by what she could do. DuVernay’s film gave me one of my favorite moviegoing experience with my dad. She told the story of our people in a way no one else could have accomplished. Someone who looked like me doing something that some might say isn’t “for us.” And then to see her at the Oscar seemed like a validation that my dreams could come true.
If she didn’t have a major project in the forefront of the news, DuVernay still makes it a priority to advocate for more women in color behind the camera. And she walks the walk with all of the projects, especially through her television show, Queen Sugar. The acclaimed director acknowledges that she’s a position to uplift women and she does so with such drive that it’s obvious how much she cares. But, in simply doing what she’s passionate about provides young women like me proof that we can create whatever I minds can think of.
As if I wasn’t already inspired by DuVernay, she was announced as the director of Disney’s film adaptation of the classic children’s novel, A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling. So, it’s not only someone besides a white man responsible for a major-budget blockbuster but stars on screen who are so fierce that all look different. DuVernay is in a territory that no other black woman has been before, and it’s almost indescribable how empowering it is to see her accomplish something so groundbreaking. Little black and brown girls now get to grow up seeing characters that look like them in this movie and know that someone just like them made it. Girls get to grow up knowing that making films for a living isn’t just a dream but a goal. Ahead of seeing this movie I’ve been waiting for for years, I’m allowed to tell myself that my dreams of making films aren’t unattainable. DuVernay is the director of my dreams because she lets the little girl inside of me run wild with thoughts of what she will create one day. She’s the hero that little girl was looking for but never found. She’s the person that allows that little girl to confidently say that she will make her movie one day.
Through my eyes,