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How “Selma” Director Ava DuVernay Reaches Her Creative Peak

Ava DuVernay’s teaming up with The Oprah Winfrey Network for her first TV series Queen Sugar. There will be feels.

How “Selma” Director Ava DuVernay Reaches Her Creative Peak
[Photos: Laurel Golio for Fast Company]

Following up on her powerhouse, Oscar-nominated film Selma, Ava DuVernay is embarking on a new project that’s a first for her: directing a television series.

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It was announced earlier this year that DuVernay was teaming up with The Oprah Winfrey Network to direct Queen Sugar, based on the novel by Natalie Baszile. Queen Sugar follows a woman whose life takes a turn when she unexpectedly inherits 800 acres of sugarcane land in Louisiana.

When asked by a fan following her appearance at the Fast Company Innovation Festival what it’s been like developing a new show with Oprah, DuVernay called the experience “wild.” It’s also one, she tells us, that’s allowing her to maintain the level of creative control she’s become accustomed to while making independent films.

“I am very protective of my creative space. If it’s not harmonious, it’s challenging for me,” DuVernay says. “I started working in an independent environment. I started making my own films with my own money. I got to handpick every single person. I got to work with my friends. That’s the way I work at my highest level creatively.”

About the author

KC works covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America" where he was the social media producer.

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