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WSJ Article about Ava DuVernay / 'Middle of Nowhere'


A Movie Publicist Takes Her Seat in the Director’s Chair

When making her directorial debut “Middle of Nowhere,” independent filmmaker Ava DuVernay didn’t have the same anxiety about finding distribution that many of her colleagues did.

Ms. DuVernay, in her prior career as a film publicist and marketer, had already seen how difficult it was to distribute an independent film, let alone one that was geared towards African-American audiences, like her film was. Therefore to give black voices — including her own — a platform, she created her own distribution company, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM).

Together with Participant Media, AFFRM officially picked up the rights to “Middle of Nowhere” earlier this year during the Sundance Film Festival and plans to debut the film nationwide on Oct. 12. The drama, which stars Emayatzy Corinealdi as a young woman waiting for her husband to be released from prison, also screens this week at the Toronto International Film Festival. 

Read more here.

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Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 40 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

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