Growing up in Compton, filmmaker Ava DuVernay thought that when it came to African American history, the Black Panthers and Malcom X were the cool guys. Martin Luther King Jr. was always a little "soft around the edges," she said. Her view changed as an African American studies major at UCLA, where she learned how MLK's non-violent tactics were not only meticulously strategic, but also radical. With Selma, her third feature as director, DuVernay was on a mission to remind audiences that there's more to Martin Luther King Jr. than "I Have a Dream." She talks about her particular gaze as a black woman storyteller, and how she uses silence in her films. Plus, how she felt the first time she saw the finished print of Selma.
Editor's Note: This interview was taped before the nominees for the Academy Awards were announced on January 15th.
Banner photo: Atsushi Nishijima