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Ava DuVernay Expands Array to Distribute Films by Women and Minorities

Building on the success of “Selma,” Ava DuVernay is expanding her 5-year-old distribution company known as AFFRM (African American Film Festival Releasing Movement), relaunching and enlarging the company as Array.

“I’ve always felt as if there were so many films that get made but not seen,” she told Variety. “The real focus of our company has always been distribution. What we’re doing now is opening our arms a little wider and enlarging our mission.”

The new Array — which features two more staffers coming on board — announced Tuesday that it has two films set for release this fall: South African director Sara Blecher’s coming-of-age drama “Ayanda and the Mechanic” and Takeshi Fukunaga’s debut feature, “Out of My Hand.”

The focus will be films by minorities and women. Array aims to significantly boost the number of films it releases beyond the original company’s two a year. AFFRM released DuVernay’s 2012 film “Middle of Nowhere.”

“It’s a definite evolution of what we were doing at AFFRM,” she said. “When I was out promoting ‘Selma,’ I became aware of so many other films that ought to be getting distribution. And this is a problem I can do something about because of my experience.”

Array is partnering with Netflix to release Tina Mabry’s “Mississippi Damned,” a family drama that debuted at Slamdance in 2009. That film recently began streaming on Netflix.

DuVernay said Array will distribute films via the theatrical arthouse circuit as well as on streaming platforms.

“Selma” was a solid performer for Paramount with $66 million in box office. It also received a Best Picture Oscar nomination and won the Oscar for Best Song.

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