Ava DuVernay directing film, Selma. ~ Photo by Atsushi Nishijima/Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Ava DuVernay directing film, Selma. ~ Photo by Atsushi Nishijima/Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Ava DuVernay…where have you been all my life??

This dynamic woman understands something my friend and editor A.J. Verdelle preaches all the time: Clarity is not negotiable. In her recent Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, DuVernay was very clear about her artistic vision for the film, Selma: with regard to Oyelowo’s portrayal of King, it was never to be about mimicry; and as for the “facts” of history, she is more interested in the truth.

We’ve been on the planet long enough to know history is not everything that happened, it’s everything that was written down and we must always—always—consider the source.

This is a quick post to shine a light on the woman behind the work and to set a few things straight. There’s quite a buzz around a lot of things.

Here’s the truth (which we got wrong in my last post) about why King’s original speeches weren’t used in the film: DuVernay told Terry Gross that the rights to the speeches are held by another filmmaker and they didn’t ask for rights because it did not fit their $20 million budget.

DuVernay was co-writer of the screenplay but did not get the credit because it was in original writer, George Pelecano’s contract to retain that right. That’s OK. In the end she also became the speech writer for her Dr. King and those speeches capture the power and spirit of the man and fit remarkably well with the vision to not mimic the icon.

Below is a nice treat: a chance to see and hear cast members, producers and director ~

Published on Dec 18, 2014: The full press conference for Selma with David Oyelowo, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey, Tim Roth, Common, Tom Wilkinson, Dede Gardner, Carmen Egojo, Andrew Holland and director Ava DuVernay: