Ava DuVernay will make history at the Venice Film Festival as she is the first Black American woman to have a film selected for the festival’s competition.
DuVernay‘s Origin will screen alongside four other female filmmakers–Sofia Coppola (Priscilla), Agnieszka Holland (The Green Border), Malgorzata Szumowska (Woman Of, co-directed with Michal Englert) and Fien Troch (Holly). DuVernay also joins Regina King, who became the first African American woman to screen at Venice with her 2020 film One Night in Miami. However, as Deadline reports, it wasn’t part of the film festival’s competition screenings.
However, with 23 films screening overall, Deadline reports that the festival is still far from reaching gender parity, with the festival stating that 32 percent of submissions were from women filmmakers while 66 percent were from male filmmakers. Meanwhile, 60 films didn’t declare a gender.
DuVernay also wrote the screenplay for Origin, which is based on the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. The film focuses on America’s racial system through the lens of a caste-based society and stars Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Audra McDonald, Niecy Nash Betts, Jon Bernthal, Nick Offerman, Vera Farmiga and Connie Nielsen.