March 19, 2018
Meeting Ava DuVernay, Director of “A Wrinkle in Time”
Last week, Disney teamed up with social agency Vamp UK, to present curated events as well as special meet and greets with the film director and cast members for Disney’s film adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time”.
Girls Talk London was formally invited by Vamp UK to attend a special film screening with a few of our alumni students from our mentoring programme, Step into STEM. The programme, which is sponsored by telecommunication companies BT, Vodafone, Ericsson and O2, was established to encourage young girls aged 16 – 18 who are in year 12 to enter STEM fields in efforts to increase female representation in these male-dominated industries.
To align with our programme’s core mission that speaks to the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, taking our girls to see the film was especially important for us. The storyline in the film adaptation is based on a young girl of colour named Meg, played by Storm Reid, who is fascinated by the sciences and uses her analytical skills to become the heroine in the movie that speaks along the themes of female empowerment. What the film tackled was conceptually groundbreaking for mainstream as there is a need for more prominent representation to truly show young girls from diverse backgrounds what is possible for themselves. After all, it is much more challenging “to be what you cannot see” and it can be an isolating experience chartering new territory where you may see little to no representation. While our girls are entering the STEM fields where there is already a low representation of women, let alone women of colour, seeing themselves reflected in Storm Reid’s character translated into many meaningful themes for them, which they took away leaving them to feel inspired, validated, invigorated and most importantly seen.
Following the film screening, a few days later I had the grand opportunity to not only meet the award-winning film director, Ava DuVernay, but also share the girls’ collective sentiment upon seeing the film at an intimate roundtable discussion co-facilitated by Disney and Vamp UK. What I appreciate most about Ava is that this powerful woman continues to break barriers by intentionally portraying diverse stories from the African diasporic perspective, challenging the retelling of monolithic narratives in Hollywood of underrepresented communities.
Naturally, when it came time for my question, I had to share with her how important the film was for our alumni students who attended and asked if she envisioned how impactful “A Wrinkle in Time” would be for young girls like them. She was so humbled and touched by how the movie made our girls feel and in response to my question she proceed to share
“That’s the reason why I made it…[the character Meg] was always solving problems and getting ahead through her intellect, through her math…You’re seeing not just a black girl, but a black girl using her mind. Not using a gun, not using her sass, not using her beauty; using her mind. And those are things you can’t quantify. There’s no box office to say how those images are going to affect. There’s no critic anywhere that can tell me how that’s going to affect those girls. So that was the goal of it. I love hearing that they received it in that way.”
To listen to the full conversation I had with Ava listen here:
Ava DuVernay is a powerhouse and she continues to be a warrior of light for young girls and women as well as people of colour, as she represents what is possible when you put your mind to something. Ava shared she didn’t pick up a camera until she was 32 and now, today, she is making history, or shall I say “herstory”, as the first woman of colour to ever produce a Hollywood blockbuster film with a nine-figure production budget and she’s been confirmed to direct an upcoming blockbuster superhero film, New Gods, which will become part of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe. To be able to have that moment with Ava, who is continually making “herstory” and giving a voice to the voiceless, is a moment I will never forget.
A wrinkle in Time comes out in the UK on the 23rd March.
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