Quick Quotes. Ava DuVernay. “The studios aren’t lining up to make films about black protagonists.”

Ava Duvernay

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay delivered and emotional and inspiring speech at SXSW over the weekend.

DuVernay spoke of the challenges of being a black filmmakers, and representing complex black characters on film. At one point she was asked why it took so long to tell the story of Martin Luther King, Jr., and she responded,

“The studios aren’t lining up to make films about black protagonists. Black people being autonomous and independent.”

DuVernay also spoke of dealing with the pressures of being a filmmaker.

She recalled having a panic attack on the night that her movie premiered at the AFI Fest last November. “I went to the bathroom,” DuVernay said. “I vomited, I cried. [I thought], they are going to put me in director’s jail. I was freaking myself out.” But then she stood in front of the theater and received a rapturous standing ovation, and realized they were clapping for her film.