25. Ava DuVernay
DuVernay recognizes the importance of claiming her identity. She shared with MAKERS, "I've heard of people saying, 'I don't want to be defined as a woman filmmaker,' or 'I don't want to be defined as a black filmmaker.' All good with me. But I want to be defined as a black woman filmmaker, because that's the lens through which I am working. That is my gaze. I'm proud of it. I don't feel like it's any less or limiting. I'm a black woman filmmaker and my films are just as valid as the white man filmmaker and whoever else."
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