Always fascinated by 'firsts' in film history, sometimes it is a surprise in how long a 'first' can take to happen. These 2 directors now have their own notices in the annals of cinematic history.
Penny Marshall, born in 1943, first came to my attention through the Laverne & Shirley show, one of the many spin-offs from Happy Days, which also gave us director Ron Howard. 8 years prior to Laverne & Shirley, Penny could be seen acting in various TV shows, some of which she appeared in just one episode. But in other programmes such as Friends & Lovers and The Odd Couple, Penny was a series regular. Now known as a film director (after first cutting her directing prowess in TV) Penny will still make the odd appearance on the small box, but is still more acclaimed for her directorial contributions. Penny is the first (and technically the second) female director to have individual films gross more $100million at the box office; where Big raked in $151.7million and A League Of Their Own commanded a respectable $132million and change.
Ava DuVernay, born in 1972, also comes from a television background, having first started in journalism and then moving into publicity. Ava's publicity consulting profile is very prolific, dating back from 1999 extending all the way to 2011. Some of her projects include Girlfriends, Dracula 2000, Scary Movie, Spy Kids, S.W.A.T., Man On Fire, Spider Man 2 and I, Robot. In Ava's move into writing and directing, Ava's first feature length film I Will Follow (having directed TV and documentaries) garnered her critical and commercial success with a multitude of award nominations to follow. Ava is currently the first black female director to win the Best Director Gong at the Sundance Film Festival for Middle of Nowhere, the first to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and nominated for an OSCAR - both for the Best Picture category. She was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature (but not Best Director) for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma.
TDD, RC & IK talk: