An ode from 'Black Panther' director Ryan Coogler to 'A Wrinkle in Time' director Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay is someone who makes the impossible look easy. It's why I feel privileged to call her my big sister. I met her in 2013, but she's one of those people who you feel like you've always known.
In her life before I met her, she was a highly admired Hollywood publicist who owned her own company. By then she had written, produced and directed two amazing films, about black women finding hope while experiencing grief and loss, all while maintaining a production and distribution company to finance and distribute underserved independent films made by women and people of color. She was already one of my heroes, and that was before she took one of the most sought-after scripts in Hollywood and turned it into the best film about Dr. Martin Luther King that anyone will ever make.
Ava is a pioneer. She makes the most distant dreams and ideas a reality. She made a show called "Queen Sugar" and mandated the use of female directors and key creatives a full two years before the great Frances McDormand shared with the world what an inclusion rider was. Ava is inclusion, equity and representation.
Ava is the past, present and future. She is all of these things, but sometimes I forget she is human. I was reminded of this a couple of years back, when I got the heartbreaking news that she had lost her father. I almost lost my father, and it nearly broke me in half. Ava, the warrior, weathered that loss while making "13th" to show everyone with a Netflix subscription that American slavery never ended -- it had only morphed.
Then she infused the love she had for her father, and her mother who is still with us, into the beautiful film "A Wrinkle in Time." I watched closely from across the hall at Disney while working on "Black Panther" as my big sister inspired her crew with love and navigated the challenges of studio filmmaking, adapting a book that many people called unfilmable into a movie that explodes with hope, with love and with women warriors.
But above all, it's a film about a little black girl with glasses -- like my mom, like my wife, like my big sister Ava -- who refuses to accept that her dad is lost. The main character in the film, Meg, uses her love, her hope and her kickass skills as a scientist to bring him back, and maybe she saves the universe along the way.