Beverly Hills, CA
As the #WomenInFilm movement and conversational climate in Hollywood continues to escalate regarding an industry wide push for gender equality and inclusion across all platforms, this weekends recipient of the 2018 PGA Visonary Award went to one of the most recognizable and empowering voices among the #WomenInFilm movement – AVA DUVERNAY.
Hosted at the marquee Hilton Hotel Beverly, industry producers gathered to celebrate the annual achievements by guild members.
After being presented the Award by colleague and Academy Award Winner REESE WITHERSPOON (Wrinkle In Time), DuVernay quickly turned the conversation and acceptance speech into challenging Hollywood to rethink their stance and perspectives on gender equality, inclusion and societal awareness.
“I was excited to come here today because we’re gathering on another historic day of the women’s march. It’s an interesting day because we had the women’s march in the midst of a government shutdown,” she said. “We have moments where people like me are at the intersection of Black Lives Matter and Me Too and Time’s Up. In shirt, we’re in the midst of times that will be long remembered , and I can’t help but ask the question of how will we be remembered in these times.”
Recognizing ALLISON SHEARMUR, DuVernay talked about how the late producer, who recently unexpectedly passed away due to complications from lung cancer, created opportunities for people of color and marginalized voices in the entertainment industry.
“That is what we should be remembered for, the work that we put in this world. Ever more importantly is the way that we work. The people we actually choose to see, that we choose to amplify in the moments when everyone is looking.”
As one of the leading advocates for gender and racial equality in Hollywood, DuVernay mentioned that there are now conversations within the entertainment community about “rights and wrongs in the industry”.
She went on to say, “I just want to take a second to say you don’t do it because it’s the right thing to do, to pivot from prejudice. It’s not a trend, it’s reality! A reality that our industry has betrayed in so many ways over the decades. So not to think of diversity as a good thing to do, think of it as an absolute must, something that must be done.”
The Producers Guild of America recognizes and one individual each year for the Visionary Award in Film, TV or new media producers whose contributions are unique and uplifting to our culture through inspiring storytelling or performance. DuVernay’s recognition comes from work as a writer, director, producer, marketer and film distributor whose work embodies and highlights social issues.
Her work includes the Oscar nominated and Emmy winning documentary 13th about racial issues and the prison system in America. Other noted work is her highly acclaimed drama series she collaborated on with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and distributed by her OWN Network- Queen Sugar.
DuVernay, whose forged her path in the industry as a leading publicist and highly skilled marketer dating back too 1999, also recently became the first black woman to direct a film (Disney) budgeted over $100 Million and the first women of color to win the Sundance Best Director award in 2012 with Middle of Nowhere.
She is represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Cover photo courtesy of Makers.