Ava DuVernay's Queen Sugar will have an all-female director line up for its upcoming third season. Fresh from directing Disney's A Wrinkle In Time and being confirmed for DC's New Gods, DuVernay's Queen Sugar airs on Oprah Winfrey's OWN and is based on the book of the same name by Natalie Baszile. The story follows the Bordelon siblings Nova (Rutina Wesley), Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) and Ralph (Kofi Siriboe) as they each attempt to deal with their own personal struggles while coming together to run their newly inherited family sugarcane farm. Queen Sugar won the 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Drama Series.
Both Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey have been vocal in their pursuit of gender equality, particularly within the film and TV industry and, on a number of occasions, have worked to highlight the disproportionate lack of female directors. Both women came out in support of Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman in the wake of the superhero movie's massive critical and commercial success, highlighting the film as a rare example of a woman directing a big budget blockbuster feature.
However, DuVernay is also backing up her inspiring words with decisive action and, for the third consecutive season, Queen Sugar will feature an all-female directorial team. As reported by The Root, the current list of names includes Patricia Cardoso (Real Women Have Curves), DeMane Davis, Shaz Bennett, Maria Govan and Lauren Wolkstein. Explaining the move, the director repeated a sentiment she expressed shortly before Queen Sugar season 2:
“If Game of Thrones can have three seasons of all-male directors, why can’t we have three seasons of all-women directors?”
DuVernay certainly makes a critical point. Although she singles out Game of Thrones, a number of popular television series utilize either all-male and predominantly-male directors and as such, it's impossible to criticize DuVernay for offering the same to women. It's difficult to pin down exactly why there are relatively few female directors in both television and film and there's a debate to be had as to whether females are being deterred from a career in professional filmmaking at an early stage, leading to a disproportionate lack of women behind the camera, or whether there are female directors out there but they simply aren't being given opportunities to impress.
The fact that Ava DuVernay has assembled all-female director teams for three straight seasons of Queen Sugar might suggest that the latter theory is more accurate but at least by offering budding female directors an opportunity to show what they can do on her series, DuVernay is giving a platform to aspiring filmmakers that might not have received the opportunity otherwise and for that, she can only be commended.
Queen Sugar season 3 premieres Junes 2018 on OWN.
Source: The Root