I was SO impressed by Ava Du Vernay and her speech at DGA identification of the"loosing the jacket of desperation" that I am posting this. I hope she gets to read it. I have lost the "jacket" and am now going about the business of making my films! Here is a copy of Statement of Purpose to UCLA Film school. I am both inspired and in awe of her efforts: Statement of PurposeI am Eric John Priestley (AKA: Eric Priestley,) one of the original members of Late Budd Schulberg’s Watts Writer’s Workshop, and I have also been a member of WGA for some time. I want to create all the dramatic and technical that transform script into film—specifically to turn my novels into story treatments and ultimately into film. All cards on the table: my life has been a living hell. Both my parents were from Louisiana, and came to California to escape the Jim Crow nearly at the cost of my father’s life. My success as a writer and actor has been deliberately blocked by factions in entertainment industry who did not like Budd or the writers he brought from the ashes of Watts Riots. The extent to which, that in 1973 an FBI informant burned the Workshop/Theater in Watts down at the behest of Special Agent Brandon Cleary burned my house down: thus went the Watts Writer. Budd told me at Honorarium at USC 1987 that government might come after me because they came after him. I saw people die in 1965 and 1992. Despite all this, I have still managed to create. I have recently returned from a 3 year stay in China (2008-2011). My third novel, For Keeps, was published. I have been told by Mike Boehm at LA TIMES: “All your novels should be films.”I returned from China 2011 having written a story treatment, screenplay based on my Novel called For Keeps, Pub 2009, Otis Parsons in the hopes of getting my project bought and picked up as a feature film. I took it to Bentley Morris,(Publisher of 40 years, created, owned and operated Holloway House Publishing Company and Players Magazine, who has sold many screenplays based on novel) who also published my second novel: Raw Dog only to discover Bentley sold the company to Kensington Publishers in NY 3 years ago. Since my return from China, Bentley is the only one who has help me shop my work around in an effort to preserve me talent and prevent the powers that be from taking advantage of me. The fact is I need training in order to do this. I went to UCLA in 1971, but transferred. It is the only school with the reputation and technical know how I feel would be sensitive enough and fair to deal with the subtle blocks which have thus far stopped me in my dream to create. I cannot imagine my life without being able to create. This statement is my plea for an opportunity to do so.
Eric John Priestley
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Hello Filmmaking Commnunity, brothers and sisters, and media mavens! I applaud the communal efforts of AFFRM to bring the stories of people of color and notably black peoples from the Diaspora to the forefront. I am working on my first film, a documentary about black migration to the Pacific NW called Settling the Pacific NW: A Black Experience (www.settlingthepacificnw.org) and I am pleased to read about all the accomplishments of other brother and sisters who are working in this medium. I am especially humbled by Ms. Ava DuVernay's passion to take control of the means of telling our own stories. Keep keeping on . . .
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I wish you continued and boundless success. I have no doubt of the talent you would bring to A Family Gathering, Heat of The Night and other Gene Cartwright works.
Bravo Ava this is the only way to empower our works.
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Hi Ava, We met last year at the NABJ Convention. Just wanted to say I love what you're doing and keep up the good work!
Ava, so PROUD of what is unfolding under your leadership. Peace and blessings,Shina London
This is very much needed for filmmakers & aspiring filmmakers. As the Louisiana film process continues to boom I think AAFFRM would serve as a excellent tool.. I looking forward to volunteerism....
Really interesting plays, would love to see I Will Follow and some of the others as well, willing to volunteer when and where I can.
I sincerely hope AFFRM continues their vision and support of Afrocentric-flavored films and the directors and producers of such films. I first heard of AaFFRm via the Pan African Film Festival Los Angeles and is one of my favorite film festivals on the circuit.
Ms. Duvernay, ever since I read your story in the ny times in October of 2012 I have been following you, when I read your story I was very impressed with your determination and drive to get your projects done. Thanks for sharing your talents and love for independent film with the rest of us, you have inspired me a great deal!! My first short film as well as the feature film is now in development....Thank You..
Thanks for giving hope to Independent Filmmakers of color. We do need an outlet.
As a media entrepreneur and film professional I am excited and fully supportive of what AFFRM is doing. Thank you for spotlighting great films and stories told by us. I look forward to lending continued support to AFFRM's growth.
Keep up the amazing vision...I support it all!!!!
Congratulations on all of your WINS! Hope to work for you one day! Follow me on FB@JusticeWinterPerformer or Twitter@JusticeWinter
May 2013 be better than you can imagine! Look forward to hearing you tonight at the Bing Theater. You're an inspiration, the best to AFFRM and ARRAY. Peace
You guys are doing such amazing work. I signed up to volunteer but I'm sure you've been inundated with tons of applications, so I haven't heard back yet. I work in social media and would love to volunteer my services in that area (or any other really!!). Hoping I can help...
Congrats on everything!Allison
Congratulations on the launch of ARRAY and the acquisition of Better Mus Come. Hope to hear more about you and maybe get you to do some business in South Africa!
I have always been interested in us telling our own stories in order to bring about awareness, enlightment and encouragment. If I can help in any way please let me know. I would also like to know how I can show "Middle of Nowhere." Great film! Thank you.
Thank you for all that you are doing. Let me know how we can help. Our latest film 'Rope Burn' stars Colin Cheadle and is based on the true story (www.Lynchedbyca.com)
Art ThomasCEO / ProducerMain Man FilmsP.O. Box 3773Englewood, CO 80155
Hello, just wanted to say two things. 1) I'm a black DP living in Vancouver, Canada (born and raised in Barbados) and I would love to someday shoot a project (or two) for you guys. I really admire what you're doing. >>https://vimeo.com/39178146<< 2) Being in Vancouver, unfortunately I havent been able to see Middle of Nowhere. Any idea of when I may catch a glimpse of it in Canada? I read the script recently so I feel like I've connected with the story and characters without even seeing the film. It was a great script and no doubt a great film. Peace
great...houston txwould like to be involved if i can...email me
I'm L.A. and looking for this movie. The two places that were showing the movie, only did for 2 weeks (which ended yesterday ~sigh~). And now I can't seem to locate any other places nearby. Will the movie be on Netflix, DVD or showing any other places in the Los Angeles area?
I love what you all are doing.I will be joining the movement.
Our images, MATTER!
Hi Ava,It's great to see this film grow and retain a solid base for African American entertainment. I know we have not had time to communicate since Urbanworld NY a few years ago but would like to contact you at your convenience.
Hello,I missed the screening of "Middle of Nowhere" in Austin . How can I see the film?
Awesome, and very real. Thank you for telling a difficult story. Can't wait to seethe entire film.
Absolutely loved MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! We need more films like this, and more African-American women directors.Excellent directing by Ms. DuVernay, powerful story and story line, and fantastic acting. Refreshing pace, and loved that we didn't get beaten over the head with the emotional impact of family angst and alienation, prison life, but Ms. DuVernay hit the right pressure points on these and other issues, but particularly love. I look forward to seeing more of her work. And I hope, soon.
Dear Ava: I am the director of a film exhibition program, called the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, located on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Here is a link to our website: www.theross.org. I've been running this program for nearly 40 years. I am very interested in your film but I cannot locate contact information for obtaining a screener and learning the availability of it for our area. I would also be very interested in bringing you to our campus. We have had an excellent and diverse visiting film/video makers series for the entire time of my tenure here. I've included my e-mail address above. My phone number is (402)472-9100. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks.
AVA, I am so dissappointed that the middleofnowhere is not to be shown in my area. Lord knows there are millions of women in this same situation down here in Louisiana. I love the attitude you have taken of not teaching or sharing a message, but just a reflection. This gives one much food for thought. I can take it where I want or I can leave it. So looking forward to this movie coming my way.......I transfer here from Sacramento so I have to venture out for new art, even though Louisiana offers a wealth of culture that I am still exporing.thank you for taking the risk
Ava, Go, Go, Go! Ive been busy with my last baby and starting a new biz, but Im wide awake and I see you making groundbreaking moves. Im beaming and cheering every step of the way. I'll be up and out again soon so I can support in other ways... Peace and The Biggest Blessings to you Sis!Marci
there is wab-m whites addicted to black film movement let us know how to help
Heard you on NPR last night Please let us know if you will be showing this in sacramento!! I am excited to see this video and share it with some of my friends.
I just finished the interview on Fresh Air also. Maybe if we lobby in my town to get the production it will come. Myself, like David in Kentucky, will have a wait to see the film. But, I will travel to see more of Ava and other AA artist's material. Great work Ms. Duvernay.
I watched the film on my mother's 82Nd Birthday October 21st 2012 In Seattle Washington. It was a powerful initiation of a much needed discussion! The script was authentic, clearly the voice of many people, Black People, & Black Women in particular! The pain was real, the resolution powerful, the Stuggle to love oneself, and hold true to your 'best vision' profoundly explosive. As a Performing Artist and Composer I was dissappointed in the soundtrack. The music did not resonate with the struggle within as much as I hoped it would. I look forward to contributing to the next venture with this film maker 'Ava DuVernay. She moved a multitude with this project. I salute her.
'Just got through listening to Ava DuVernay's interview on Fresh Air. 'Would love to watch her movie, Middle of Nowhere, but I suppose living in Kentucky, I am in the middle of nowhere when it comes to having access to this film. I suppose I will wait patiently for its arrival.
Saw Middle of Nowhere with 2 friends at AMC Aventura in South Florida. It was so refreshing to have a well done Black film here in South Florida, it so needed down here. Shared the information on FB and word of mouth. Let's build on this. Now waiting for the soundtrack which should be nice.
This is absolutely great! I have waited for something like this for years. There has been an absence of our film making and lack of effort in the mainstream market. Finally, we have the beginning of something that I, as a American and descendant of american slavery, "I will support". I hope to see you in Jacksonville, FL and Miami, FL. Thank you and thank you NPR for having you on their show.
Love the mission and would love to see the work. Come to New Orleans!!
I love the direction, you have my 10000000000% SUPPORT!!! Filmmaker Darren A. Saunders
Love what you doing need a Branch in Northern Calif. Let's do it.
I have heard about the movie "Middle of Nowhere" and would like to know if it will be coming to Denver, Colorado soon. There is a group of women here that would to support the movie, director and cast.
@AvaEtc 's Middle of Nowhere blew us all away last night!! so honored to have been a part of the WeHo Sunset screening
First and foremost I want to thank God for inspiring Ava to write this film and nurture it for the last several years. Then I have to thank Him for bringing together the phenomenal team of actors, producers and others who got "Middle of Nowhere" off the ground. This story needed to be told, it's a human story that just happens to have predominantly African American cast. As an aspiring film and television executive, this is the kind of project I want to be known for. But first I just want to know the best way to get started and be a part of something. It's not about making money (though that is nice) but this artistic goal is to bring strength to words on a page, speak to and touch souls...I want to be a part of that.
Congrats to you, Omari :). My friend, Joyce (your mom), texted me about the opening of this film. Unfortunately it is not showing in Savannah, yet! I did speak with my god-daughter in College Park and she will try to check it out this weekend. I charged her to tell all her friends also. We both saw the clip online and can't wait to see the movie. Looks like the type of "Black" movie that I would appreciate, something with substance. Wishing you and the rest of the cast much success. God is blessing you :)
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Saw the movie in Atlanta last night !! Words can not express the depth of engagement emotionally and visually. This movie is a masterpiece of the "real" for women, men, family and community. A MUST see !
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