As she enters the room, she’s filming. During our exclusive interview with Ava DuVernay, director of A Wrinkle In Time, she walked straight into our room with a smile and her phone set on video. “You all are about to go on the ‘gram.” A filmmaker to the core, she’s always finding the story within her day. We spend 18 insightful minutes with Ava, and she left us with so many lessons about gratitude, living a purposeful life, and why A Wrinkle In Time will change the world’s dynamic, one child at a time.
Speaking To Children In A Respectful Way
Ava shared with us that even though she doesn’t have children, she sees her films as her children. She was passionate about making a film for children, which is why A Wrinkle In Time means so much to her. She also learned the best way to have conversations with children — stop talking down to them. The kids on the set — Storm, Levi, and Deric — shared with Ava what’s cool at the time, what they love about the stories they see on-screen, and that although they love to laugh, they also love to think.
“Yes, kids like to laugh but kids also like to think. They like to feel. The first 30 minutes of the movie, it’s just about Meg. There’s no magic. For 30 minutes, we make you sit down and sync into the heart of a young girl as she’s trying to figure out things; struggling at school, struggling with the bullies, struggling with an absentee father, all of those things.”
Ava’s Connection To Meg
A Wrinkle In Time is an adaptation of the monumental book, and in this adaptation, we see Meg as an inner-city brown girl who’s trying to find her way. Ava says she connected deeply with this version of Meg, because she was Meg when she was younger.
“We’ve moved the book to be in the inner-city. (Meg is) a little girl from the inner-city who wears glasses, who doesn’t know how fantastic she is, and I related to that. I remember being that. I remember dreaming about all the things I wanted to be, and not knowing if I could be them. Not seeing anything in my world beyond my mom who loved me, and my family who loved me, to tell me you can do it.
School didn’t say you can do it. Society didn’t say you could do it. Nothing said you could do this. Nothing said you can be here and direct this movie. Nothing said you can do any of it, and so you have to find it in yourself, and that’s what this book says. That’s what the movie is saying.So, I related to Meg very much.”
A Wrinkle In Time Will Change The World
While we’ve heard Ava DuVernay say A Wrinkle In Time was made for children, it’s a film that will touch the hearts of the adults who view it. It’s a film that can change the world, and we asked Ava how she wishes her work will effect our current society, and the children in it.
“I really want it to be a seed that blossoms into something beautiful in young people, about the way we treat each other, the way we see ourselves and the way that we’re seen. Movies have the power to do that. Movies have the power to do things that politics doesn’t even do.
Stories are powerful, and I believe in this story. I believe in this story to be able to plant seeds with young people at this time. There’s a lot of division and darkness in the world. Oprah always says it’s easier for one light to illuminate a dark room. It’s really hard for darkness to drown out light.
Treat People With Respect By Knowing Their Names
Rowan Blanchard said in an interview that she was able to shadow Ava during filming, and learned so much from Ava in terms of filmmaking and directing. One thing that stood out for Rowan was the fact that Ava knew the names of every member of the crew. When we asked her about this, and why that was important to her, she declared “why would you not?”
“I used to be a crew member. I used to be a publicist and I would go on to sets and I would be only one of the few women, probably the only black woman, and so many directors didn’t know their crew members’ names. I thought, how disrespectful. These people were here before you got out of your trailer. They set up the trailer that you go into. This is someone’s father or mother who’s been here since five o’clock in the morning. Everyone’s working hard. How do you walk passed people and not know their name? And yet that’s the culture of our industry.
You have to know people’s names. You have to treat people with respect. You have to.”
Light In A Dark Place
Ava is the personification of light. She creates films that move to you act, reflect, and push yourself to be the better version of you. We wanted know what a person like Ava does to bring light to her being, when she may feel like she’s in a dark place. Gratitude is her secret.
“I do this thing all day where I count gratitude throughout the day. At the end of the day when I say goodnight to myself, the universe and to God, I’ll say ‘thirteen’ or ‘forty seven,’ and in that moment I can’t remember all the things they were, but I’ll count them. So today I’m on 19 — you all are 20 — about the things that I’m grateful for in this moment. Some days you’re going through the day and you’re like ‘I got three. Goodnight.’
But, it’s my little prayer and I count for gratitude the little pieces of things that I have gratitude for — a smile, a person that lets me in the left turn lane when I know it was wrong and I shouldn’t have been there, the parking spot there, just little things. If you take a second to acknowledge it, it gives you a little jolt of joy. You just count them through the day and they give you a little kick.”
I’m not ashamed to say, that little snippet about gratitude brought me to tears. This is the real key to being the light in a dark place. Remembering that every little thing leads to the big things. Ava’s success is a series of her believing in the little things, and attracting the big things. She’s the woman hope to become one day. I will always cherish this day, and our time with her. Thank you for being you, Ava DuVernay.
A Wrinkle In Time is in theaters now!
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