News & Notes

Collaboration:  A Filmmaker’s Toolkit

by Denée Barr

Filmmaking is collaborative by nature. Most filmmaking gets done with a team who comes together in a filmmaker’s toolkit. Your team determines how good your film will be and whether or not you will get to make more films. Filmmaker Ava Duvernay (Selma, Naomi, When They See Us, A Wrinkle In Time, 13th, Queen Sugar, etc) is a master at collaborative filmmaking, especially for filmmakers of color. Ava’s focus is on great filmic storytelling where the viewer can experience our world through an immersion of life’s ups and downs, stories that compare and contrast our common humanity ~ birth, life, and death. What sets Ava apart from other filmmakers is that she cares about the industry of filmmaking as well as its sustainability. If we are making films and our focus is on uplifting those communities and people who are underserved, unheard, and undervalued our filmmaker’s toolkit will also reflect an inclusive film team comprised of voices and narratives from diverse writers, directors, photographers, videographers, cinematographers, screenwriters, historians, educators, musicians, dancers, literary, visual, and performing artists who have come together to expand their creative expression, uplift the human experience, and engage in entertaining profound ways our world local to global. Review the films of Ava Duvernay and contemplate how she is uplifting the film and television industry to the next level as well as expanding on the human experience for all time. Yes, there have been successes and failures in Ava Duvernay’s filmmaker toolkit and that plays a part in her success as a film director, writer, and producer bar none.

This is just the first installment in a new series of articles that I would like to share with my fellow WIFV members and colleagues. We are in this together. We are Women In Film & Video working local to global. Let’s take our strengths in filmmaking to the next level together and develop a new filmmaker toolkit for expanding our reach and engagement in our communities where definitive storytelling telling, fiction, and nonfiction know no boundaries and we get to live our best lives socially, economically, physically, and spiritually as women filmmakers one world one humanity one humankind. Now my fellow WIFV filmmakers what do you wish to have in your Filmmakers Toolkit regarding collaborations or what do you wish you had? Let’s keep the conversation going and I welcome comments. Email me at Thanks!

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