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Cantor Film Center-NYU
36 East 8th Street – Theater 200, NY, NY
Join award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay (When They See Us, Selma, Queen Sugar, A Wrinkle in Time)
and Sarah Lewis (Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies,
Harvard University) as she discusses her work.
Co-sponsored by NYU Center for the Humanities, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis,
Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, Tisch School of the Arts Office of the Dean, Office of the SVP Global Inclusion,
Diversity and Strategic Innovation, Africana Studies, Center for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora (CSAAD) and
Department of Photography & Imaging.
FILMMAKER AVA DuVERNAY
Winner of the Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody Awards, Academy Award nominee Ava DuVernay is a director, writer, producer and film distributor. Her directorial work includes the historical feature film SELMA, the criminal justice documentary 13TH, and Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME which made her the highest grossing black woman director in American box office history. Based on the infamous case of The Central Park Five, WHEN THEY SEE US recently garnered 16 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Director and Writer for a Limited Series nominations for DuVernay. Currently, she oversees production on the fifth season of her critically-acclaimed TV series QUEEN SUGAR and her upcoming romance anthology CHERISH THE DAY. Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival's Best Director Prize for her independent film MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, DuVernay continues to amplify the work of people of color and women of all kinds through her multi-platform media company and arts collective ARRAY, named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies.” DuVernay sits on the advisory board of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and co-chairs the Prada Diversity Council. She is based in Los Angeles, California.
Sarah Lewis is an Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She served as guest editor of the “Vision & Justice” issue of Aperture, which received the 2017 Infinity Award for Critical Writing and Research from the International Center of Photography. How has visual representation—from videos and photographs to sculptures and memorials—both limited and liberated our definition of American citizenship and belonging? This is the central theme of Lewis’s work. Previously, she held curatorial positions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tate Modern, London and taught at Yale School of Harvard. She is also the author of the bestseller, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, translated into 7 languages, and selected as the reading requirement for all incoming freshman at many universities.
Her forthcoming book, The Caucasian War, on race, whiteness, and photography under contract with Harvard University Press (Forthcoming, 2021), and her following book on Race and the American Landscapehave received support from the Ford Foundation, the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition.
She has served on the boards of the Andy Warhol Foundation of the Visual Arts, The Brearley School, and The CUNY Graduate Center and is a current board member of Creative Time. She is a frequent speaker and has lectured at many universities and conferences, from South by Southwest to the Aspen Ideas Festival. Her mainstage TED talk has received over 2.5 million views. She has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other mainstream publications.
In 2019, she became the inaugural recipient of the Freedom Scholar Award, presented by The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. The award honors Lewis for her body of work and its “direct positive impact on the life of African-Americans.” She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard, an M.Phil from Oxford University, and her Ph.D. from Yale University in the History of Art. She lives in Cambridge, MA and New York, NY.