ava duvernay*Director Ava DuVernay, whose critically acclaimed “Middle of Nowhere” won her a best director award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, was recently profiled by the LA Times about the production.

She describes “Nowhere” as a story about a hardworking nurse who works the night shift and struggles to maintain a relationship with a husband serving a prison sentence.

But the other aspect of the article was her choice for location of the film shoot: a tony area of South Los Angeles unlike what is portrayed in most films shot in the so-called ‘hood.

“When people think South-Central or Compton, it’s all ‘Boyz n the Hood,’’’ said DuVernay, referring to the 1991 saga directed by John Singleton. “It’s never a house like this (the one behind her in the photo above. It becomes an assumption that people who live in these communities don’t care about their home, don’t work as hard for them and don’t own their homes. That’s one of the reasons why I chose this area. It reminded me of the house I grew up in.”

DuVernay and her small crew spent a week last summer filming in the quiet, well-kept neighborhood on East 91st Street for her film, “Middle of Nowhere.” The critically acclaimed movie won DuVernay the best director award in the U.S. drama category at this year’s Sundance Film Festival — the first for an African American woman.

“Middle of Nowhere,” an independently produced film set for a theatrical release in October, will receive a prestigious gala screening this week at the Los Angeles Film Festival, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

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Shot over 19 days last June, DuVernay’s drama takes place entirely in communities of Los Angeles that aren’t usually frequented by Hollywood filmmakers. The crew filmed in Compton, Inglewood, at a federal correction facility in Victorville, Leimert Park and East Los Angeles, as well as various areas of South-Central.

“It was definitely a new experience for some of the communities we were shooting in,’’ said DuVernay, who spoke about the movie during a panel last weekend at the AFCI Locations Show in Los Angeles. “I could take a camera crew anywhere in the Mid-Wilshire district and everyone is pretty (film) savvy. You come home and you see a notice on your door and you know what’s going on. Here, it’s like, ‘There’s a notice on my door. What’s that for?’ So there was a bit of a learning curve.”

Read/learn more – and see Ava being interviewed – at LA Times.