The Huffington Post reported that Ava Duvernay became the first black woman to win ‘best director’ at Sundance Film Festival Sunday. Her film, Middle of Nowhere is the second full-length feature for the director. Her first, I WIll Follow was released last March to glowing reviews. DuVernay’s production company Forward Movement, produced her films. Her distribution company, African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, (AFFRM), released Middle of Nowhere.:

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In her acceptance speech, Duvernay said that it was important that Nowhere be seen beyond the film festival and for “filmmakers of color to see one another’s films and have them seen.” ‘Nowhere’ was picked up by Participant Media for distribution last week.

Her win came as a shock, as Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts Of The Southern Wild, a story inspired by the people who refused to leave New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, was considered the favorite. (Beasts took home the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize.)

“Middle of Nowhere is a story about a woman named Ruby who has lost her husband to incarceration,” DuVernay told Jason Scoggins of the Sundance Project 2012. “It touches on the prison wives’ tale, but really the story of a woman who’s living in a relationship that’s imbalanced.”

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