When Ava DuVernay first launched the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), she was far from her first set of Oscars and the immense success and visibility of "Selma." But now, even with that recognition in the rear-view, she knows that there’s an accute silencing and omission of diverse voices in independent filmmaking and distribution. With that in mind, the filmmaker just relaunched AFFRM as Array, broadening the scope to include women and filmmakers of color in general in her mission to secure widespread film festival distribution for a larger set of works.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, DuVernay talked about the state of contemporary film distribution in no uncertain terms:
"There’s a generation of filmmakers of color and women whose primary concern is that no one will see their work," DuVernay says. "And that is a huge barrier. They’re asking, ‘Why make something if no one will see it?’
"Right now, there is a fundamental disrespect inherent in the distribution and amplification of films. There is a cinema segregation in how films are seen and not seen. What we’re saying is, we’re not going to depend on those things anymore."
DuVernay went on to explain how the bold moves behind Cary Fukunaga’s "Beasts of No Nation," which features Idris Elba as the commander of an African rebel army that uses child soldiers, will shape Array’s future. The Netflix-distributed feature film inspired DuVernay to look to streaming services as alternatives to theater-release distribution companies:
"The consumer is deciding what they want to see and when and how, and filmmakers are more aware and accepting of the fact that success is not predicated on your movie showing in a traditional theater for a certain amount of time," she says. "[Steven] Soderbergh’s doing a TV series on Cinemax. Skinemax? Really? Jill Soloway, who won the Sundance directing award the year after I did, is making ‘Transparent’ on … Amazon? The place I buy books? But now, as long as it’s in a place where people can grab it—and different people want to grab it in different ways—it doesn’t matter."
Array currently has two movies set for release: South African director Sara Blecher’s "Ayanda and the Mechanic" and Takeshi Fukunaga’s debut feature, "Out of My Hand."
Check out the full LA Times article here.