Ava DuVernay

*“Selma” director Ava DuVernay will head the International Competition jury at the upcoming 17th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, to be held October 29 and November 5. According to the festival director Anupama Chopra, Ava’s presence will inspire filmmakers, and DuVernay has expressed her excitement about being invited to the event.

“I’m thrilled to have been invited to head the international jury for MAMI festival and look forward to celebrating the work of a diverse array of filmmakers with energetic, engaged audiences in the dynamic city of Mumbai,” DuVernay said in a statement.

Ava’s film credits include 2010’s “I Will Follow,” 2012’s “Middle of Nowhere,” (which earned her the 2012 Sundance Film Festival best director award), and the ESPN “Nine for IX” documentary “Venus Vs.,” She is currently developing Natalie Baszile’s novel “Queen Sugar” into a scripted original series for Oprah’s OWN network, Indie Wire reports. DuVernay will write, direct, and executive produce the project which features Winfrey in a recurring role.

“The freedom that artists can have at OWN is something I want a lot of people to know about,” DuVernay told ABC Radio in September, teasing the New Orleans-set drama as a “big, sweeping romance.”

In 2013, she directed an episode of ABC’s hit drama “Scandal,” as well as acclaimed fashion and beauty films for Fashion Fair and Prada.

Ava spoke about the secrets to her indie film success during a public discussion last year at LA’s Landmark Theater, and she offered the following advice for aspiring filmmakers.

“Come to someone with your whole heart and be real and be invested,” DuVernay said about getting support for films early in one’s career. “Find your people. Find your tribe. Trust your feelings and grow your tribe around your work.”

“So often in this industry we wait for permission,” she said. “We wait for someone to tell us it’s OK to do something. Sometimes you have to create your own systems, your own structures.”