45 Best Ava DuVernay Quotes and Sayings for Filmmakers

Ava Marie DuVernay is a famous filmmaker from the United States.

Best Ava DuVernay Quotes


Don’t wait for permission to do something creative. ~ Ava DuVernay.

When you’re in your lane, there’s no traffic. ~ Ava DuVernay.

All the films I do, I write the scripts, I direct. ~ Ava DuVernay.

If your dream only includes you, it’s too small. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Stop asking, start doing. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I think I am a little jealous of women who have great girlfriends as adults.

Positive characterizations are complex characterizations. That’s all we need to know. They shouldn’t be saccharine. They shouldn’t feel like medicine.

Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I don’t understand the iPhone. I just don’t get it. Don’t ya’ll have to write serious emails throughout the day? How can you possibly manage detailed missives on a phone with no keys? ~ Ava DuVernay.

I think that if we really want to break it down, that non-black filmmakers have had many, many years and many, many opportunities to tell many, many stories about themselves, and black filmmakers have not had as many years, as many opportunities, as many films to explore the nuances of our reality. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Black people loving and losing is something we don’t see enough of. We’re always in these heightened situations like something big is happening, something funny or something violent. And you know what? Sometimes we die of breast cancer or a broken heart. Things happen that are just not being explored cinematically. It’s time we reinvigorated that type of film. ~ Ava DuVernay.

The documentaries were something that I could do for a small amount of money, and then I felt like as long as I found the truth in the stories I was telling as a doc, I could teach myself filmmaking through doc filmmaking. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I love making films. I’m happiest when I’m doing it. For me, the fear is not being able to make the next thing and not being able, as a woman filmmaker and as a filmmaker of color, to put together the resources to make another thing. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I made my first film when I was 35, so I firmly believe that you don’t have to be one thing in life. If you’re doing something, and you have a desire to do something different, give it a try. ~ Ava DuVernay.

There’s something very important about films about black women and girls being made by black women. It’s a different perspective. It is a reflection as opposed to an interpretation, and I think we get a lot of interpretations about the lives of women that are not coming from women. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Roger Ebert was such a champion of underrepresented filmmakers. He was a very big deal to me. It shows the power of critics. People who write about film, like you, can really affect the confidence of a young filmmaker. He did that for me, so it was such a pleasure to have an opportunity to talk about Roger in the movie. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Those [old] days are gone … accept the reality and do it. ~ Ava DuVernay.

We [Americans] know Martin Luther King Jr. as a statue. We know him as a holiday. We know him as a speech. We don’t know him as a man. Most people don’t even know the whole speech, just “I have a dream.” They don’t know what his speaking voice was like, how he looked at his wife, or that he had four kids. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Some black filmmakers will say, “I don’t want to be considered a black filmmaker, I’m a filmmaker.” I don’t think that. I’m a black woman filmmaker. ~ Ava DuVernay.

As a Black woman filmmaker I feel that’s my job: visibility. And my preference within that job is Black subjectivity. Meaning I’m interested in the lives of Black folk as the subject. Not the predicate, not the tangent.[These stories] deserve to be told. Not as sociology, not as spectacle, not as a singular event that happens every so often, but regularly and purposefully as truth and as art on an ongoing basis, as do the stories of all the women you love. ~ Ava DuVernay.


Film school was a privilege I could not afford. ~ Ava DuVernay.

We’re told that independent film lovers … folks that are used to watching art house films, won’t come out and see a film with black people in it – I’ve been told that in rooms, big rooms, studio rooms, and I know that’s not true. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Top Ava DuVernay Quotes

Filmmakers need to realize that their job isn’t done when they lock picture. We must see our films through. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I think that women definitely have a special bond as friends that is hard to describe to men, and we don’t often see that portrayed narratively. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I didn’t go to film school. I got my education on the set as a niche publicist in the film industry. ~ Ava DuVernay.

When I’m marketing a film, whether its mine or someone else’s, I work with a great deal of strategy and elbow grease until the job is done. ~ Ava DuVernay.

You can’t tell me what I can’t do anymore. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I’m a prison abolitionist because the prison system as it is set up is just not working. It’s horrible. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Hollywood needs more women directors, and Mama Ava needs a carafe and a half of that sweet vino divino. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I tell the stories that are of interest to me. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I make films about black women and it doesn’t mean that you can’t see them as a black man, doesn’t mean that he can’t see them as a white man or she can’t see them as a white woman. ~ Ava DuVernay.

If you’re doing something outside of dominant culture, there’s not an easy place for you. You will have to do it yourself. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Famous Ava DuVernay Quotes

Figure out what you need to do to be the heroine of your own story. ~ Ava DuVernay.

As long as you’re in an environment where the worth of the project isn’t based on the project but what its predecessors did, it’s not truly inclusive. ~ Ava DuVernay.

There’s never been a film with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the center released in theaters. Ever! One does not exist. You’ve only seen tele-films and stage plays about him. Yet, we have big screens biopics about all kinds of people. So, I think it’s only right that there be a full-length feature about Dr. King. I don’t think there could be enough of them, but there should be at least one. So, here it is! ~ Ava DuVernay.

I just don’t think there’s a lot of support for the woman’s voice in cinema, and it becomes really difficult to raise that money and start again every time.

I really admire Werner Herzog and Spike Lee. They’re amazing documentarians. If you took away all the narratives, they’d just be amazing documentarians. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Ignore the glass ceiling and do your work. If you’re focusing on the glass ceiling, focusing on what you don’t have, focusing on the limitations, then you will be limited. My way was to work, make my short … make my documentary … make my small films … use my own money … raise money myself … and stay shooting and focused on each project. ~ Ava DuVernay.


You know, often films that are deemed positive, nobody wants to see them.

I’ve been to Sundance eight times as a publicist and thought I was very prepared. I mean, who could’ve been more prepared for me? A publicist who’s been there eight times. Getting there as a filmmaker was a completely surreal, different, unexpected experience. ~ Ava DuVernay.

At the end of the day, I had to remain dedicated to historical accuracy. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I think for female filmmakers a big issue is making their second and third films. You see the statistics, and the dropoff on the second and third [films] , are dire. ~ Ava DuVernay.

Time will tell … whether folks want to point and stare at the black woman filmmaker who made a certain kind of film, and pat her on the back, or if they want to actually roll up the sleeves and do a little bit of work so that there can be more of me coming through. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I wish I could be the black woman Soderbergh, and put the camera on my shoulder and shoot beautifully while I directed. ~ Ava DuVernay.

All the traditional models for doing things are collapsing; from music to publishing to film, and it’s a wide open door for people who are creative to do what they need to do without having institutions block their art. ~ Ava DuVernay.

In documentaries, there’s a truth that unfolds unnaturally, and you get to chronicle it. In narratives, you have to create the situations so that the truth will come out. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I didn’t start out thinking that I could ever make films. I started out being a film lover, loving films, and wanting to have a job that put me close to them and close to filmmakers and close to film sets. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I think good publicists are just like good mommies – always looking out, making sure folks are comfortable and making sure that folks are on time and making sure that folks are getting what they need and know what they need to do. ~ Ava DuVernay.

I think for female filmmakers a big issue is making their second and third films. ~ Ava DuVernay.

So these were 45 top Ava DuVernay quotes and sayings for writers and film makers.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Alicia Garza quotes and Hermes Trismegistus quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar