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Filmmaker Ava DuVernay aims to hold police accountable through art

Rollo Ross

Reuters

Los Angeles, United States  /  Sat, June 20, 2020  /  09:06 am
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay aims to hold police accountable through art

US director Ava DuVernay arrives for the 2019 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019, in New York. (AFP/Angela Weiss)

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay is urging writers, dancers, poets and other artists to help make the names of abusive police officers as well known as their victims.

Media company ARRAY, founded by DuVernay, has launched the Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) to support works of art that tell stories about police violence, an issue that gained renewed attention following the killing of African-American George Floyd while in U.S. police custody.

DuVernay, the filmmaker behind Selma and 13th, said the idea grew out of frustration.

"The stories around police abuse of black people who are unarmed and should not be killed is not being well told when officers are able to just disappear into the ether," DuVernay said in a recent interview with Reuters.

Read also: Oscars board elects 'Selma' director as diversity increases

"I can ... rattle off 30 names of black people who have been murdered by police on film over the last five years, but I can’t tell you who killed them and I can’t tell you where those people are," she said. "I think that's unacceptable."

The effort will commission projects from film, literature, poetry, theater, dance, fine art and music. The first piece will be released online in August, DuVernay said, followed by one each month for at least the next two years. Activists will be encouraged to circulate the work via social media to increase visibility.

"This is an active demonstration of resistance so it will be ongoing and it will be consistent," DuVernay said. 

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