Twitter was abuzz with the first major event of the first full day at South by Southwest, starting with the highly popular keynote address delivered by director Ava DuVernay.
DuVernay, fresh off the Oscar nomination for her third feature film “Selma,” addressed the festival audience with a message of self-agency and empowerment. She declared to the SXSW crowd that she had enjoyed “the most awesome f---ing year,” despite the countroversy that followed "Selma." Citing her own experience, she used “Selma” as testimony to the power of focusing on the film’s story. Later on, she revealed herself to be a fan of sci-fi author Octavia Butler and expressed interest in bringing Butler’s “Kindred” to the big screen. DuVernay also announced that she had two TV shows in the works for 2015.
The independent filmmaker left a successful publicity career in order to pursue the stories that interested her. DuVernay’s first film, “I Will Follow,” was a personal tribute to the aunt who kindled her love of film at an early age. Her critically-acclaimed second film, “Middle of Nowhere,” sprung out of Sundance with a directing award for DuVernay. “Nowhere” star David Oyelowo rejoined the director to star as Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma.”
Several SXSW attendees live-tweeted Ava DuVernay’s keynote address:
"When you're in your lane, there's no traffic." - Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
â€” Steve Burks (@Steve_Burks) March 14, 2015
â€” SuperJASIM (@atheenakratos) March 14, 2015
Key takeaway from Ava DuVernay Keynote: Don't limit the dream with box office and accolades. Work inwards, not outwards. Shine. #sxsw2015
â€” Adam Woodward (@AWLies) March 14, 2015
â€” Yolanda Vallier (@yvallier) March 14, 2015
â€” Nicole Childers (@mediagyrl) March 14, 2015
â€” Jennifer 8. Lee (@jenny8lee) March 14, 2015
â€” Cassia (@CassiaBornInRio) March 14, 2015