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GUEST POST: 5 Favorites by Ava DuVernay

AFI Fest 2010
Hi my name is Ava DuVernay.  I make and market films.  A good sister named Karen who runs this very cool site,, asked me to name 5 things that excite me in black film at the moment.  What a cool concept.  Just like Karen. And her site. Cool. So… here goes…

5) Matthew A. Cherry
I like this brother's style. He shoots. And shoots. And shoots. Music videos. Shorts.  And coming soon - his first feature. He works with open arms. Embracing fellow filmmakers. Embracing social media. Embracing the energy currently brewing around the black indie film aesthetic. Here's his latest video which just dropped this week for Foreign Exchange. The guy makes, like, a video a week, I swear. I love it. Work! 

4) Black Swan Theory
This is a short film that I dig a lot for a couple of reasons.  First: because this fierce black woman filmmaker smashed it.  Her name is Nikyatu Jusu and she is a bad, bad sister - in the best way.  Can't wait to see more from her and loved her previous short.  Second reason I love this small film is that it was made with funds from a guy who puts his money where his mouth is: Tambay Obenson of  I appreciate people who mean what they say and say what they mean. And by funding Nikyatu's film through the Shadow and Act Filmmaker Challenge, Tambay did just that. This film represents everything we should be doing as black filmmakers and black film advocates. Creating vibrant, self-determined images and moving them forward with our passion and elbow grease.

3) Remigration
The latest from Barry Jenkins via the FutureStates series. What else needs to be said? The brother is not for the children. He's for grown-ups. Love his work. Love FutureStates.  If you're not aware of either, please get to Googlin'.  I met Barry for the first time at Sundance during our AFFRM dinners just a few weeks ago.  I liked his vibe and really can't wait to see 'Remigration,' when it debuts on March 21.  Plus it stars Russell Hornsby who is a ridiculously talented actor.  I had the pleasure of working with him as a publicist both on stage and on our dearly departed TV series, "Lincoln Heights."  Keep an eye out for all involved with this piece, especially Barry.

2) Bradford Young
A dear friend. An immensely talented cinematographer.  We worked together on a doc I directed last summer called "My Mic Sounds Nice." He was at Sundance with two films that he shot this year: "Pariah" and "Restless City." He won Excellence in Cinematography Award this year for "Pariah."  And when I tell you that his work in "Restless City" is the most amazing thing I've seen in years, please believe me.  The whole film - from hat to socks - is off the chain bananas. Not just regular bananas. OF THE CHAIN BANANAS.  Brad elevates the beauty of the narrative with images that simply blow. you. away.  So, yeah… Bradford Young.  Please know the name.

Biased, but hey.  AFFRM is a collective of the nation's finest black film organizations coming together to release black independent films.  AFFRM films will be released simultaneously in multiple cities around the country for a two to three weeks on real screens.  It ain't Paramount.  It ain't Sony.  Its AFFRM - film distribution by the people, for the people.  The first release of this landmark distribution collective is a quiet little ditty I wrote and directed called I WILL FOLLOW.  The film stars Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Omari Hardwick, Blair Underwood and Beverly Todd.  We open in NYC, LA, Atlanta, Seattle and Philadelphia on March 11.  I am eating, sleeping, breathing this film and AFFRM these days. And I'm happier than I've ever been.

Please join our journey on Facebook at or, on Twitter (@iwillfollowfilm or @affrm) or via our websites at or or  That enough social media for ya? LOL. Seriously, please follow I WILL FOLLOW and help us open this film on March 11. We need you.

And that's it.  This was fun.  Thanks to Karen and Reel Artsy for the good work on this site and beyond.  Wishing everyone well.  Until next time…