This weekend, I attended a screening of Ava DuVernay’s I Will Follow as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Act Now: New Voices in Black Cinema festival. DuVernay’s previous effort, the documentary My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women in Hip-Hop, aired on BET last fall to much acclaim. I Will Follow is the director’s first feature film, slated for a wide release on March 11.
Starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Beverly Todd, and Omari Hardwick, I Will Follow chronicles a day in the life of “Maye” (Richardson-Whitfield) as she mourns her deceased aunt “Amanda” (beautifully portrayed by Beverly Todd) and moves out of the house they shared. The slow pace of DuVernay’s film is enhanced by the scenic shots of the California Woodlands and the Topanga Canyon. In a Q & A with the director, she described her project as a simple film: “It’s not edgy, it’s not avant garde, it’s just from the heart.”
DuVernay’s simple from-the-heart film explores a broad range of human emotions. It is a quality I often spot in feminist filmmaking practices and that I hope to see in more black films as well.