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Ava DuVernay Has Some Surprising Advice for Aspiring Filmmakers

By Jennifer Memmolo

"You gotta follow the white guys. Truly. They've got this thing wired," she said to the crowd. "Too often, we live within their games, so why would you not study what works? Take away the bad stuff, because there's a lot, and use the savvy interesting stuff and figure out how they can apply. It's a good one for the ladies."

Additionally, DuVernay mentioned how important it is to have diverse interests and projects to work on simultaneously. The auteur is definitely leading by example, with new shows in the works at Oprah's OWN and a civil rights drama set to premiere on CBS.

"I've been in a lot of rooms lately, and all these fancy people who are really killing it, no one has all her eggs in one basket."

One project she won't be adding to her roster? The next big Marvel project: "Black Panther." Duvernay met with the head of the comic book company several times to discuss possibly directing the project, but ultimately decided against it.

"At one point, the answer was yes because I thought there was value in putting that kind of imagery into the culture in a worldwide, huge way, in a certain way: excitement, action, fun, all those things, and yet still be focused on a black man as a hero, that would be pretty revolutionary," she said on taking on the project.

"These Marvel films go everywhere from Shanghai to Uganda, and nothing that I probably will make will reach that many people, so I found value in that. That's how the conversations continued, because that's what I was interested in. But everyone's interested in different things." The director added that she has high hopes for the franchise whenever it launches.

The incredible director finished off by stressing the importance of building not just a portfolio, but a reputation and legacy with one's name.

"What my name is on means something to me, these are my children. This is my art. This is what will live on after I'm gone."

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Photo Credit: Getty Images