Nominated for the Academy Award and winner of four EMMYs as well as BAFTA and Peabody Awards, Ava DuVernay's 13TH was one of the most critically-acclaimed films of 2016. In 2015, DuVernay directed the historical drama SELMA, which garnered four Golden Globe nominations and two Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Her current work includes the critically-acclaimed drama series QUEEN SUGAR, Disney's fantasy epic A WRINKLE IN TIME, and a film adaptation chronicling the notorious Central Park Five case. Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival's Best Director prize for her previous feature MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, DuVernay's early directorial work includes I WILL FOLLOW, VENUS VS. and THIS IS THE LIFE. In 2017, DuVernay was named one of Fortune Magazine's 50 Greatest World Leaders and TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. She also distributes and amplifies the work of people of color and women directors through her film collective ARRAY, named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies. DuVernay sits on the boards of Sundance Institute, Cirque du Soleil and Film Independent.
Tilane Jones has worked with award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay for ten years. Beginning with public relations and promotional company the The DuVernay Agency as well as production entity Forward Movement and most recently leading ARRAY as Executive Director. ARRAY has distributed seventeen feature films since 2011 including Andrew Dosunmu's RESTLESS CITY and Haile Gerima's ASHES AND EMBERS. Working as Manager of Production for Forward Movement, Jones has served as a producer for all of the company’s visual product. Her film credits include: Four-time EMMY winner 13TH, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, THIS IS THE LIFE, I WILL FOLLOW, AUGUST 28: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PEOPLE, and Oscar nominated SELMA as well as acclaimed fashion and beauty films for Prada and Fashion Fair, THE DOOR and SAY YES, respectively. Her television credits include: BET's “Black Girls Rock,” “My Mic Sounds Nice,” “John Legend Interludes Live,” “Essence Music Festival 2010,” and ESPN Films' “Venus Vs.”
A native of Los Angeles, Maori Holmes founded BlackStar Film Festival in 2012 and over the past 15 years has organized programs in film and performance at a myriad of organizations including: Anthology Film Archives, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Barnes Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative, Painted Bride Art Center, Scribe Video Center, International House, and Swarthmore College. Other projects include KinoWatt (2011-2012), co-curated with Sara Zia Ebrahimi, and Black Lily Film & Music Festival for Women (2006-2010). As a filmmaker, her film and video works have screened internationally and been broadcast throughout the US. A recipient of awards from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Leeway Foundation, Independence Media, Women’s Way, and Philadelphia Commission on Human Rights, Maori was named a Creative Ambassador by Visit Philadelphia (2009). She was a fellow at the 60th Flaherty Film Seminar (2014) and was a 2016 Ford Foundation Rockwood JustFilms Fellow. She received her MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University, her BA in History from American University, and did postgraduate studies in Design at California Institute of the Arts. She has been an adjunct lecturer at Drexel University, University of the Arts, Temple University, and Villanova University.
Mercedes Cooper is the Director of Marketing at ARRAY, an LA-based arts collective dedicated to the amplification of films by people of color and women founded in 2010 by filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Here she has developed branding and promotion of 16 independent film campaigns including Sundance 2012 Best Director winner MIDDLE OF NOWHERE and the re-release of 1983 Berlinale FIPRESCI Prize winner ASHES AND EMBERS. Cooper also manages ARRAY @ The Broad, an on-going film series featuring classic and contemporary films curated with an eye toward the intersection of art, history and cultural identity. Prior to this position, Cooper was the Marketing Coordinator at Columbia College Chicago’s Portfolio Center while completing an M.F.A. degree in Film and Video Production. Her career in media began as Program Coordinator for the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s Journalism Ethics Project. As an alum of University of Maryland College Park she holds a B.A. degree in Economics and also studied at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Cooper previously served on the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League's Executive Board and is a Film Independent Project:Involve Fellow; which upon conclusion of the program she was named the 2011 Barbara Boyle Scholar.
Cela Sutton, Creative Executive at ARRAY, a social impact film distribution collaborative that amplifies women filmmakers and filmmakers of color, has supported campaigns for the company's independent films, such as, NAMOUR and THE HOUSE ON COCO ROAD. In addition, Cela works closely with company founder and visionary filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, to coordinate her press and appearance schedule, among other duties.
Prior to this position, Sutton worked at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in their foundation and scripted television departments. There, she helped advise clients on their philanthropic goals and strategies, as well as supported agents with key television projects and deals.
Sutton began her career at Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios in Chicago, first working as an intern on the 25th and final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and eventually as an associate producer for OWN's hit reality series "Iyanla: Fix My Life."
Sutton holds a Bachelor's degree in History from the University of Chicago. As a student, she held internships at the Mayor's Office of Special Events, Lifetime Television's movie programming department and the local Fox station primetime news show.