Hollywood does not have a good record when it comes to films made by women or anybody who’s not white (especially if you fall into both categories), but Selma director Ava DuVernay is hoping to change that.
DuVernay plans to support more women and ethnic minority filmmakers through her newly relaunched distribution company Array, which is behind two movies released this autumn, Ayanda and the Mechanic by South African director Sara Blecher, and Out of My Hand by Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Fukunaga.
Array has also teamed up with Netflix to release Tina Mabry’s 2009 family drama Mississippi Damned, which began streaming on Netflix US recently.
“I’ve always felt there are so many films that get made but not seen…When I was out promoting Selma, I became aware of so many other films that ought to be getting distribution. And this is a problem I can do something about because of my experience,” she told Variety.
DuVernay has become a vocal figure about the lack of representation in Hollywood following the success of her 2014 Martin Luther King biopic, which was Oscar-nominated for best motion picture.
However, the director turned down the chance to become the first black woman to direct a Marvel superhero film after passing up the opportunity to helm Black Panther earlier this summer, due to artistic differences.
“I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. Marvel has a certain way of doing things,” she told Essence magazine.
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
1/11 Scarlett Johansson cast as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell
Blonde, white US actress Scarlett Johansson was announced to be playing the clearly Japanese character Motoko Kusanagi in Hollywood's Ghost in the Shell remake, much to the dismay of Asian film fans
2/11 Tilda Swinton cast as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange
Marvel sparked outrage when Anglo-Scottish actress Tilda Swinton was cast as Tibetan mystic The Ancient One alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
Zoe Saldana was criticised for 'blacking up' to play the considerably darker-skinned soul singer Nina Simone in Nina
4/11 Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Prince of Persia
The half Jewish, quarter Swedish actor was cast to play a Middle Eastern Prince in Disney's 2010 film
5/11 Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
Mara was been cast in the role of American Indian Tiger Lily, sparking an online protest from angry film fans
6/11 Christian Bale plays Moses in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings
Ridley Scott claimed he would never cast 'Mohammed so-and-so from such-and-such a country' in a lead role in his Biblical epic, and went on to cast an entirely white cast instead
7/11 Jim Caveziel plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ
Catholic star Mel Gibson chose to cast a Caucasian American actor in the role of Jesus for his controversial film
8/11 Micky Rooney plays a Japanese neighbour in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Who better to play Holly Golightly's Japanese neighbour IY Yunoishi than American actor Mick Rooney. At least Hollywood has come some way since 1961
9/11 Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo
Ben Affleck became the subject of a few editorials in Latin American newspapers for casting himself (an American with English, Irish, Scottish and Swiss ancestry) as a Mexican CIA operative
10/11 Jennifer Connelly plays Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind
Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé was a naturalised US citizen from El Salvador, but was played by an actress of Jewish, Irish and Norwegian descent
11/11 Chinese actresses cast in Memoirs of a Geisha
What better way to alienate Japanese cinemagoers than to cast three Chinese actresses in the lead roles in a film about Japanese culture