Best Director 2012

Ava Duvernay Becomes First Black Woman To Win Best Director Prize For 'Middle Of Nowhere' (VIDEO)

Ava DuVernay won the Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival for her drama 'Middle Of Nowhere — making her the first black woman to take home the honor.

In her acceptance speech, Duvernay said that it was important that Nowhere be seen beyond the film festival and for “filmmakers of color to see one another’s films and have them seen.” Nowhere was picked up for distribution last week by Participant Media, which also distributed An Inconvenient Truth, The Help, and Waiting For Superman.

Her win came as a shock, as Benh Zeitlin's Beasts Of The Southern Wild, a story inspired by the people who refused to leave New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, was considered the favorite. (Beasts took home the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize.)

"Middle of Nowhere is a story about a woman named Ruby who has lost her husband to incarceration, " DuVernay told Jason Scoggins of the ItsOntTHeGrid.com. "It touches on the prison wives' tale, but really the story of a woman who's living in a relationship that's imbalanced."

Nowhere is DuVernay's second feature. Her first, "I Will Follow, " a quiet, film about a woman dealing with the death of the aunt who raised her, earned strong reviews. DuVernay was one of BlackVoices' GameChangers last August, for her work in setting up AFFRM, an initiative meant to distribute independent black films and get them a wider screening.

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