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Hollywood director Ava DuVernay has been selected to receive the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.
DuVernay has been selected to receive the 27th annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in recognition of her ongoing achievements in inspiring change through the power of film and television, according to the press release.
She is the fourth filmmaker (after Ingmar Bergman, Robert Redford, and Spike Lee) to receive the prize since its inception in 1994.
Lillian Gish is a legendary screen and stage actress, known as the First Lady of Cinema. She passed in 1993.
DuVernay was humbled to hear that she had been tapped for the honor.
“When I was notified about the lovely prize, I asked to read Ms. Gish’s actual words regarding this gift as drafted in her will. She said the prize was to go to an artist who contributes to our understanding of ‘the beauty of life.’ What a notion,” DuVernay said in a statement. “With her description, my own view of what I do has shifted slightly more toward embracing the beauty around me and welcoming it at every turn. This is one of those moments, and I am grateful.”
Jamie Bennett, Executive Director of ArtPlace America, said, “Ava DuVernay is an extraordinary filmmaker whose body of work as a writer, producer, director, distributor, and mentor perfectly embodies the outstanding achievements that the Gish Prize celebrates. As a committee, we went into the selection process thinking that we had been given an impossible task. Reflecting back, however, our choice was inevitable: Ms. DuVernay was exactly the artist to honor. We are as grateful for all she has already given the world, as we are excited by all she has yet to do.”
The Gish Prize also bears one of the largest cash awards, currently valued at approximately $250,000.