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ILLBLOG’s 2016 Woman Of The Year: Ava DuVernay

We Couldn’t Wait To Tune Into ‘Queen Sugar’ Every Week
DuVernay’s hit show premiered this year and immediately took off, quickly becoming a fan favorite. The filmmaker also hired women to direct every episode of the show. ‘Queen Sugar’ wrapped up the year as the number one cable series for African-American women, with its season finale drawing in 2.76 million viewers.

’13th’ Educated The Masses And Made Us All Think
The director’s powerful film was the first documentary to ever open the New York Film Festival and is rumored to be on the shortlist for an Oscar. The incredible documentary explores race, America’s criminal justice system, and how mass incarceration allows slavery to continue.

We’re All Waiting For ‘A Wrinkle In Time’
By taking on the film adaption of ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ DuVernay became the first woman of color to direct a big budget film with the cost of the movie landing over $100 million. DuVernay is currently working on the film with a well-rounded cast that includes ’12 Years a Slave’ actress Storm Reid as the lead.

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She Became Part Of History With The NMAAHC
DuVernay teamed up with the National Museum of African American History and Culture to debut a new short film at the museum’s opening. ‘August 28: A Day In The Life Of A People’ is short film that features a star-studded cast telling the story of powerful events that happened on the date, like the murder of Emmett Till, the night Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, Hurricane Katrina, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The film was commissioned as an orientation film for visitors to view during the first year of the museum’s opening.

She Did It For The People
Teaming up with Creed director Ryan Coogler, DuVernay helmed the “Justice For Flint” event earlier this year, forgoing the Academy Awards. The star-studded event raised $156,000 for Flint residents and was streamed online for those who couldn’t attend.

She Was (And Continues To Be) A Total Boss
Back in February, DuVernay’s ARRAY, the director’s distribution company that gives underrepresented filmmakers an opportunity to have their work seen, was named one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies.

She Continuously Pushed For Diversity
Throughout the year, DuVernay continued to push for women and minorities to have their voices heard. While being honored at the Los Angeles Film Festival with the Spirit of Independence Award, DuVernay commented on the industry’s lack of representation when it comes to filmmakers of color, “Everyone here loves film, yet a whole swath of film, a whole group of filmmakers have been kept from them. That pisses me off and I don’t accept it. I want to educate myself. I want to learn. I want see those films and I want to help those films be seen.”

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