Tavis Smiley is probably the most interesting talk show host, as far as I’m concerned. He’s one of the few who can seamlessly blend Hollywood and the politics of Hollywood. Most of them don’t even notice, let alone talk about it. In short: I love him. Anyway, you might be interested to hear what DuVernay has to say about raising and using her own money to make the film, becoming a filmmaker.

Tavis Smiley: “There is a formula in this town that you could have used to make this process a lot easier. There is a certain type of film where if you make it the studios will throw money at you that you didn’t ask for. They would give you deals beyond those movies to do TV shows – negroes will turn out in droves to see them. So there is a formula in this town that Tyler Perry and others have used that makes money, and it makes it a lot easier to get your projects made because white folk will throw money at you to get that kind of story told. That’s my statement, not yours. The question, then, for you to answer is why take the road less traveled, why engage a process that you know is going to be difficult to climb, that you know you’re not going to get money for…what drives somebody to beat their head against the wall when they know there is another way, there is another formula that you could have employed.”

Watch the video to see how DuVernay answers that:

Watch Filmmaker Ava DuVernay on PBS. See more from Tavis Smiley.

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  • You have to commend her for trying to get her message out regardless of finances. These films just aren’t made anymore.


    I don’t know you, Ms. Stone and don’t know much about this site. But props for this post. You said a lot here and I’m happy someone is saying it and pointing the artistry of Ms. Duverney and the business savvy too. It’s like a balm for those of us who have given up on Hollywood.

  • Chance


    I disagree with Travis frequently and applaud him just as often. His interview with Viola and Octavia earlier this year was intense. He asks the tough questions.

  • Houstonrufus

    Now having watched this interview, I see why Sasha is championing this film so much. Well done, Sasha. I’m a white folk and will gladly put down my 10 bucks to see this movie. I’ve been reading great things, and I’d love to support DuVernay.

  • great movie… saw it on friday night… thanks to awards daily… its where i heard about it, particularly that podcast

    keep spreading the word and thanks

  • Mel

    This is minor, but it’s in the headline. Tavis Smiley is a 30 minute show.

    I’m really wanting to see this film, but it doesn’t seem to be coming here anytime soon.

  • Stephen Holt

    Wish I could see this. But it wouldn’t play on my computer. Is it available anywhere else?

  • acrombie

    IMDB:4.3 ?

  • Bethany Nanc

    Wonderful interview! Wow!

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