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Ava DuVernay

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Right on the heels of her big announcement that she’d be relaunching her distribution company, Ava DuVernay‘s business, Array is now being sued for not submitting a film for awards season.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, producers of Michael Brown’s documentary 25 to Life, which is centered around a man who kept his HIV diagnosis a secret, says it would have been a “contender in the 2014 awards season” if they didn’t sign with DuVernay’s company. The producers say that they were shopping it around to other companies, but when they won best documentary at the American Black Film Festival, they decided to go with Array (formerly AFFRM).

In the lawsuit, it was promised they’d submit the doc to the Independent Spirit Awards and NAACP Image Awards last year, but that never happened. The film’s producers found out it was never submitted when they noticed they weren’t apart of the nominations list. From The Hollywood Reporter:

“25TL is informed and believes that AAFFRM breached its obligation to submit the Documentary to the Independent Spirit Awards and NAACP Image awards because AAFFRM and DuVernay were focused solely on DuVernay and her own film, Selma, which was submitted to the nominating committees by the required deadlines,” states the lawsuit.

“AAFFRM’s refusal to recognize 25TL’s termination of the parties’ license agreement, combined with its failure and refusal to consult with 25TL in the marketing and promotion of the Documentary, has effectively ‘hijacked’ the Documentary,” states the complaint.

DuVernay responded with disappointment to The Hollywood Reporter:

“I heard about this filing from THR, and needless to say, it’s disappointing. This film touched on the important matter of HIV and AIDS awareness in the black community. Our grassroots collective felt it deserved to be seen, so we put our hearts into the amplification of the film last year around World Aids Day. And now this. I can just say, the claim is meritless and sad. Our attorney will respond accordingly.”


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Ava DuVernay’s Distribution Company Sued Over Failing To Submit Doc For Awards  was originally published on