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.