Selma director Ava DuVernay is set to break a major milestone: she will become the first woman of color to direct blockbuster movie with a budget of at least $100 million when she gets behind the camera for her upcoming film, A Wrinkle in Time.
DuVernay is now part of a select group of filmmakers
DuVernay joined the production earlier this year, and in doing so, became one of a select group of filmmakers, ones who directed a major movie with a budget in excess of nine figures. According to the LA Times, she’s also part of two much smaller groups: women who have directed a film of that scale, as well as directors of color.
The milestone is a notable one: it demonstrates the faith a studio has in its director, and puts DuVernay’s name before a wide audience. The film will be written by Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee and will star Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey is an executive producer for DuVernay's OWN show Queen Sugar.
DuVernay pointed out that she wasn’t the first woman of color to be capable of directing such a feature.
Not the first capable of doing so. Not by a long shot. Thanks to @DisneyStudios for breaking this glass with me. https://t.co/iXJ9pgV7eP— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) August 3, 2016
She noted that the milestone comes with a downside: audiences have certainly missed out on the visions of numerous other directors who could have come before her:
A shame. Hollywood and audiences have missed some wonderful voices. High hopes for change. https://t.co/5TrQRV0pO9— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) August 3, 2016
DuVernay’s position as director of a major blockbuster is a positive point in an industry lacking in diversity. The 2016 Academy Awards were heavily criticized for a predominantly white slate of nominees. This is a problem that extends not only to the stories hitting theaters, but for the crews and professionals that work to create films. This is a solvable problem: scrolling through DuVernay’s Twitter feed shows off her efforts to create a more inclusive workplace. She broke through this particular glass ceiling, and will hopefully provide an example for others to follow.
A Wrinkle in Time is based on the 1964 book by Madeleine L’Engle, which follows the adventures of Meg Murphy, who sets of to try and find her missing father. The novel recently got a boost in attention when it was highlighted by Chelsea Clinton during the Democratic National Convention in July.
A Wrinkle in Time is set to be released to theaters in 2017.