While the cast of the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, Selma, were in New York City, Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay spoke about how the film has been received and why there aren’t more films like it in the forefront.
DuVernay, who directed the movie, says these engaging films have always been being made but there is a “certain gaze on them now.”
“There are some that have had a spotlight placed on them, but I mean, as a black independent filmmaker, there’s been a continuum of beautiful things made,” she said. “I think now you have a resurgence of attention around some beautiful things, whether it be Fruitvale Station, 12 Years, and The Butler last year, or this year with Belle, with Beyond the Lights, with Dear White People. I mean, it’s there. There are more coming next year, but they’ve always been. And so I think the charge is to make sure that they remain in a place of consistency. And we talk a lot about black, but what about brown, what about indigenous, what Asian? I mean, you know, it’s just there’s not enough diversity behind the camera, it’s really about getting storytellers, giving the storytellers of all kinds the ability to let their voice be heard. That’s my hope.”
Oprah, who portrayed civil rights activist Annie Lee Cooper, says that Selma has garnered a positive response from the King family. She added that Martin Luther King Jr.’s children, Bernice and Martin III, loved the film so much that they’ve seen it twice.
“They’re really impressed with Carmen,” referring to Carmen Ejogo who played Coretta Scott King. “They think that Carmen really depicted their mother beautifully and felt equally so about David’s portrayal of Dr. King. So they’re pretty pleased with the film.”
Selma hits theaters Christmas day.