Filmmaker Takes AFFRM-ative Action to Promote Black Cinema - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

DuVernay with I Will Follow star Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Marcia Wade Talbert)

Ava DuVernay has accomplished three times over what many independent filmmakers–both Black and White–find impossible to do just once. She has independently shot, produced, and distributed three films by using her own money. While she hasn’t produced any blockbuster films (yet!), DuVernay owns the rights to her movies, has not received help from any major film studio, and believes that in the future, more directors will follow her lead.

The landscape for DIY (Do-It-Yourself) filmmaking is littered with failures; but DuVernay attributes her success to the many African-American film festivals held annually throughout the country. Realizing that these festivals were the key to widespread distribution for Black films, DuVernay, who also owns PR Firm The DuVernay Agency, decided to launch the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM). AFFRM is a collaboration of Black film festivals brought together to help independent filmmakers release their projects in select cities across the nation. DuVernay announced the creation of the organization at the Sundance film festival last week.

So far, the Los Angeles-based filmmaker has recruited five film festivals for the endeavor, and her first feature length movie, I Will Follow, starring Blair Underwood, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, and Omari Hardwick will be the first movie released through AFFRM in March.

DuVernay, visited the BLACK ENTERPRISE offices to talk about AFFRM. Watch her describe how she got inspired to start the movement and what she hopes will be accomplished through this alliance of Black film festivals.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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