Ava DuVernay is set to direct the film adaptation of The Battle of Versailles for HBO Films.
The Battle of Versailles is based on the book by Robin Givhan about the story of the 1973 fashion show that took place at the Palace of Versailles, pitting the top 5 French designers against 5 unknown Americans in front of an audience of the world’s social elite. By the end of the night, American fashion would be born, racial barriers broken, and the industry would be left forever transformed. DuVernay is no stranger to the fashion world as she shot a stunning fashion short film for Miu Miu titled The Door in 2013 (Check out the short film below).
DuVernay will direct and executive produce the project, alongside Michael Starrbury who will co-write this project. Karen Glass and Angela Mancuso will also executive produce.
In addition to The Battle of Versailles, it was announced last month that DuVernay will be directing A Wrinkle in Time alongside co-director and writer Jennifer Lee (Frozen) for Disney, and is in negotiations to direct Intelligent Life starring Lupita Nyong’o.
DuVernay is currently in production on the 13-episode OWN original drama, Queen Sugar, where she has hired an all-female directorial team making a clear statement to Hollywood that “inclusion is a choice.” Queen Sugar is an adaptation of Natalie Baszile’s novel of the same name and follows the story of a mother and daughter who inherit a sugarcane farm in Louisiana as they navigate the triumphs and struggles of their complicated lives to run this ailing sugarcane farm in the Deep South.
There are countless woman of color who are talented directors, producers, editors, etc. working in the entertainment industry; however their near-absence behind the scenes hints at much deeper institutional problems in the television and film industry. It is evident that the industry has a long way to go in terms of diversity and inclusion; however, this is not stopping DuVernay from leading the way to make sure that Hollywood reflects the world that we live in.
“I want to be defined as a black woman filmmaker, because that’s the lens through which I am working. That is my gaze. I’m proud of it. I don’t feel like it’s any less or limiting. I’m a black woman filmmaker and my films are just as valid as the white man filmmaker and whoever else.” – Ava DuVernay