Ava DuVernay & Laura Poitras Are Launching Their Own Film Studios

Now this is some exciting news worth covering. In two separate reports, it has been announced this week that Ava DuVernay and Laura Poitras, two very talented filmmakers, will be launching their own film studios / distribution collectives. Poitras, who just won the Academy Award for Citizenfour earlier this year, is launching Field of Vision, "a documentary unit that will commission and create 40 to 50 episodic and short-form nonfiction films each year." DuVernay, whose recent film Selma was nominated for two Academy Awards, is relaunching the "African American Film Festival Releasing Movement" collective as a company called Array, with the intent to release indie films that have trouble finding their way in front of audiences.

The first release from DuVernay's original company was her debut film I Will Follow, and five years later they're relaunching the company. "There's a generation of filmmakers of color and women whose primary concern is that no one will see their work," DuVernay tells the LA Times. "And that is a huge barrier. They're asking, 'Why make something if no one will see it?'" Because of that big concern, she's putting her support behind these films/filmmakers, and this company will help with distribution. "Array aims to significantly boost the number of films it releases beyond the original company's two a year." That sounds good to me.

As for Poitras, her new Field of Vision series will launch at the upcoming New York Film Festival, where they'll premiere Asylum, a "short-form series tracking WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he publishes diplomatic cables and seeks asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy." From there it will launch as a series with new episodes airing on The Intercept website starting later this month (on September 29th). "Our goal with Field of Vision is to create a platform that responds quickly to the world around us, tells great stories with images, and encourages artistic risk taking with a fast production cycle," Poitras explained to Variety.

DuVernay's Array already has two films set for release later this fall: South African director Sara Blecher's coming-of-age drama Ayanda and the Mechanic and Takeshi Fukunaga's debut feature film Out of My Hand. Both of these sound quite interesting, and we'll be keeping an eye on them and their release. It's fantastic to see two very talent filmmakers throwing their support behind other talented up-and-coming filmmakers. Everyone knows how hard it is to break into the industry, and get any leg up in distribution, but hopefully this should help. I'm very curious to see how these companies shape up, and what kind of films they distribute. For more follow DuVernay on Twitter @AVAETC, and check out The Intercept for updates.