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Spelman Cosby Chair Presents a Discussion with Award-Winning Film Director Ava DuVernay

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Atlanta (Sept. 17, 2012) -- Award-winning director Ava DuVernay will break down the business of filmmaking during a discussion on "Black to the Future: Era of the Artist Entrepreneur." Presented by 2012-2013 William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professor in the Humanities, Tananarive Due, the evening with the screenwriter and director will feature a clip from DuVernay’s prize-winning film Middle of Nowhere and dialogue centered on her artist-entrepreneur business model “Black Art Rising.” The event is free and open to the public.

Emayatzy Corinealdi, the lead actress in Middle of Nowhere, will also appear with DuVernay, who made history when she became the first African-American woman to win Best Director at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. DuVernay is the first of many artists Due will bring to the college throughout the year to highlight the future of black arts.
 
“Ava DuVernay is the first guest in my lecture series because she encompasses the full scope of the 21st century artist-entrepreneur and how to take one’s creative work through a business process that leads to success,” said Due. “As a writer, producer, director and distributor, DuVernay is creating a blueprint for filmmakers of tomorrow.”

Scheduled for release in October 2012, Middle of Nowhere, DuVernay’s second feature film is a love story about a woman coping with her husband’s imprisonment. While researching for the film, DuVernay interviewed dozens of women impacted by the mass incarceration epidemic.   DuVernay made her feature directorial debut in 2008 with the critically-acclaimed documentary This Is the Life. She has also directed network music documentaries, including My Mic Sounds Nice for BET and the Essence Music Festival 2010 for TV One. DuVernay is the co-founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement.
 
The William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professorship was established in 1988. The recipient utilizes the post for one year to expand the college’s curricular offerings by designing a course rooted in their specific area of expertise, and facilitating interdisciplinary initiatives. The residency concludes with a special culminating event developed and implemented by the Cosby Chair.

For her culminating event in 2013, Due will pay tribute to the late Octavia Butler, one of the country's leading writers and a pioneer for African-American women in the male-dominated science fiction genre. To learn more about Due and her work visit Inside Spelman.
 
Tananarive Due, 2012-2013 Cosby Endowed Professor in the Humanities
Award-winning author Tananarive Due is a leading voice in black speculative fiction. As a Cosby Chair, she teaches a screenwriting and journalism class. She will also present a lecture series and programming that will bring the who’s who in writing talent and entrepreneurship to Spelman.  Prior to being named a Cosby Chair, Due spent a year teaching English composition and grammar at the College. She also teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. The American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient is the author of 12 novels and a civil rights memoir.  In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism's Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the college’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; JPMorgan Chase Foundation President Kimberly Davis; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; Harvard College Dean Evelyn Hammonds; author Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.

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