It was a full house inside the John F. Kennedy Center Concert Hall for the DIRECT CURRENT festival‘s first main stage event– a concert screening of Ava DuVernay‘s 13TH documentary featuring live music composed and performed by Jason Moran (Kennedy Center’s artistic director for jazz) and drummer Eric Harland.
The 13TH concert screening was presented by the Kennedy Center in collaboration with the 2020 One Woman One Vote Festival and festival partner the National Museum of Women in the Arts (sponsor for the pre-screening reception). The DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) is a co-presenter of the Ava DuVernay tribute festival citywide events.
13TH is an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality. Audiences inside the Concert Hall found connections with the film’s themes. Some were emotionally responsive during the screening.
With concerns about the impending global health crisis, DuVernay recorded a message that was played before the film expressing her appreciation to the audience for their support and attendance. NPR’s Michel Martin moderated the post-screen Q&A with DuVernay who joined the audience live via FaceTime from Atlanta where she was filming a pilot for HBO Max.
Though the remaining citywide festival events in March and April were cancelled or postponed (in accordance with the DC directives in response to the public health emergency), the OWOV Festival was able to complete 3 programs prior to 13TH for the Ava DuVernay tribute festival. The Duke Ellington School of the Arts hosted a virtual masterclass for students with Felicia Pride (via Zoom), a writer for the Queen Sugar OWN series created by Ava DuVernay. The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian presented a screening of the documentary Merata: How Mom Decolonized the Screen which is distributed by DuVernay’s ARRAY. Ashleigh Coren, curator at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery created an online Learning Lab inspired by Ava DuVernay’s Selma an educational visual resource featuring images from the Smithsonian collections. New dates for the remaining programs will be announced as they are confirmed by the host partners.
The Festival thanks the Kennedy Center, National Museum for Women in the Arts, OCTFME, Netflix, Ava DuVernay and her ARRAY team, the OWOV Festival planning committee and volunteers for making 13TH a tremendous success.
AVA DuVERNAY TRIBUTE FESTIVAL HONORARY COMMITTEE
Mrs. Michelle Obama
Actor, A Day in the Life of a People
Director, Daughters of the Dust, Queen Sugar
Angie M. Gates
Director of OCTFME
Producer, A Wrinkle in Time
Director, Harriet, Queen Sugar
Actor, Selma, A Wrinkle In Time
Founder, Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative
Actor, Cherish the Day