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Ava DuVernay first female director of color with $100 million film budget


It wasn't long ago that Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma which was filmed largely in metro Atlanta, became the first black woman to earn best-director at Sundance Film Festival .

Now DuVernay, can add another first to the list. She is the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a production budget over $100 million, reports the the Los Angeles Times .

That film would be Disney’s upcoming A Wrinkle in Time. The fantasy adaptation of the 1964 Madeleine L'Engle novel for which casting calls were recently held in Atlanta, will also reportedly feature Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, an all-knowing, billion-year-old being.

Related: DuVernay Barbie sells out, goes to Amazon for pre-order

DuVernay -- known as a champion of women and minorities in Hollywood -- reacted to the news on Twitter:

DuVernay directed Selma in 2014 and more recently executive produced Queen Sugar, a series which will premiere on Winfrey's OWN network, Sept. 6.

She has garnered so much attention in recent years, it would be easy to forget that it has only been five years since her first indie film came on the scene.

When I Will Follow, a personal story based on the death of DuVernay's aunt, went on to win honors at film festivals around the country and a thumbs up from movie critic Roger Ebert, DuVernay got emotional.

"I broke down in tears in an ugly cry on the floor, " DuVernay told me in a 2011 interview.  "I spent so many years sitting around waiting for someone to call me with a three-picture deal," she said.

She doesn't need to wait anymore. With A Wrinkle in Time, DuVernay joins an elite group of live-action directors who are women or ethnic minorities and have worked with such huge budgets including Kathryn Bigelow and F. Gary Gray.


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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.