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A Conversation with Ava DuVernay and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor

Ava DuVernay and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor speak onstage during an advanced special screening and Q&A for Ava DuVernay's new film "ORIGIN" hosted at Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California.
Ava DuVernay and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor speak onstage during an advanced special screening and Q&A for Ava DuVernay's new film "ORIGIN" hosted at Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California.

Director Ava DuVernay has built a name for herself telling a different story than the one we’ve been told about histories many want to forget. 

In her film “Selma,” DuVernay revisits the 1965 voting rights marches in Selma, Alabama. In the limited Netflix series “When They See Us,” she retells the story of the Central Park 5, a group of young Black teenagers wrongfully accused of assaulting a jogger in 1989.

Her latest project, “Origin,” is no less revolutionary than the work that built her reputation. It stars actors Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Niecy Nash-Betts, Emily Yancy and John Bernthal. The movie was released on Jan. 19. 

It’s based on a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson called “Caste: The Origins Of Our Discontents.”In the book,Wilkerson ties the experiences of racism experienced by Black Americans to the caste systems in India and Nazi Germany. 

We speakto Ava DuVernay and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, who plays Isabel Wilkerson in the film, about its unconventional pathway to the screen. 

Copyright 2024 WAMU 88.5

Haili Blassingame

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