Their Movies May Be Competing, But There’s Nothing But Love Between These Directors

“... Someone who makes the impossible look easy.”

Before a weekend when A Wrinkle in Time and Black Panther ruled theaters, director Ryan Coogler penned a heartwarming essay to Ava DuVernay that is getting the internet a little emotional. Writing for espnW, the Black Panther director congratulated DuVernay and thanked her for the role she's played in lifting up women of color in Hollywood. Much has been made of the competition between the two films for the top spot at the box office, but the exchange proves the impact the two hope their films have goes way beyond money. 

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"Ava DuVernay is someone who makes the impossible look easy," Coogler wrote. "It's why I feel privileged to call her my big sister. I met her in 2013, but she's one of those people who you feel like you've always known."

He then goes on to detail how they started working together and notes that DuVernay was "already one of my heroes" when they first met. 

Coogler wrote: 

"Ava is a pioneer. She makes the most distant dreams and ideas a reality. She made a show called Queen Sugar and mandated the use of female directors and key creatives a full two years before the great Frances McDormand shared with the world what an inclusion rider was. Ava is inclusion, equity and representation."

As both of their current films are Disney productions, while working on Black Panther, Coogler said he was able to observe how DuVernay worked on A Wrinkle in Time, and watched as she "inspired her crew with love and navigated the challenges of studio filmmaking, adapting a book that many people called unfilmable into a movie that explodes with hope, with love and with women warriors."

Coogler's letter, and the supportive friendship between him and DuVernay, quickly caught the eye of the social media.

This weekend marks the first time in recent history that the Nos. 1 and 2 spots at the box office have been held by films from African-American directors. The success of both A Wrinkle in Time and Black Panther — the latter surpassing the major movie milestone of earning $1 billion this weekend — is already being held up as a direct counterexample to the outdated Hollywood misconception that films from directors of color won't succeed in the mainstream and international box offices. 

In addition to the potential financial success, both Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time are hallmarks of the importance of representation in Hollywood

Coogler ended his letter with a nod to that understanding: 

"But above all, it's a film about a little Black girl with glasses — like my mom, like my wife, like my big sister Ava — who refuses to accept that her dad is lost. The main character in the film, Meg, uses her love, her hope and her kickass skills as a scientist to bring him back, and maybe she saves the universe along the way."

Cover image via D Free / Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

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