Ava DuVernay Set to Receive the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize

Congratulations to Ava DuVernay!

The multi-award-winning directed reportedly will receive the 27th annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in honour of her efforts to amplify the voices of women and people of color through her film and TV work.

Per THR, this will make her the fourth filmmaker — after Ingmar Bergman, Robert Redford and Spike Lee — and also the first female director to receive the honour, which comes with a cash prize of $250,000.

The prize was established in 1994 through the will of actress Lillian Gish, who died Feb. 27, 1993, following a groundbreaking career on stage and screen that spanned seven decades.

DuVernay was selected from nearly 60 finalists in visual and performing arts, literature and arts administration. Other previous honourees include Walter Hood, Gustavo Dudamel, Elizabeth LeCompte, Suzan-Lori Parks, Maya Lin, Anna Deavere Smith, Trisha Brown and Chinua Achebe.

Reacting to the news, DuVernay said, “When I was notified about the lovely prize, I asked to read Ms. Gish’s actual words regarding this gift as drafted in her will. She said the prize was to go to an artist who contributes to our understanding of ‘the beauty of life.’ What a notion. With her description, my own view of what I do has shifted slightly more toward embracing the beauty around me and welcoming it at every turn. This is one of those moments, and I am grateful.”

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