Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Ava DuVernay is the path-breaking filmmaker and distributor set to upend Hollywood and revolutionize our nation’s relationship with race. Her radical representations of the lives our society has failed to support has spurred art world leader Agnes Gund and others to take charge in dismantling systems of injustice. DuVernay’s Academy Award nominated documentary 13th addressed mass incarceration, weaving America’s original sin of slavery into an incendiary reckoning with our nation’s incarceration of black men at 5 times the rate of white men. Selma, DuVernay’s historical drama about the Alabama Civil Rights marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recast a light on the people at the heart of the movement.
Most recently, her $100 million budget science fantasy adventure film A Wrinkle in Time follows the life of an ordinary black girl with no superpowers who ends up doing extraordinary things. DuVernary’s films affirm that we the people can change the world. Aspen Institute Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel sat down with DuVernay to discuss the catalytic capabilities of well-told stories.
The Aspen Institute is grateful to Steve Tisch, Laurie Tisch, and Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch and to the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund for their generous support of the Conversations with Great Leaders series.