Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey Re-Team for Queen Sugar

By  · Published on February 2nd, 2015

Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey Re-Team for Queen Sugar

Paramount Pictures

Who needs an Oscar nomination anyway? While it would have been great for the Academy to honor Ava DuVernay this year for directing Selma, the filmmaker is at least pushing forward as strong as ever in her career. Following soon after news that she’s re-teaming with actor David Oyelowo for a Hurricane Katrina drama comes word that she’s re-teaming with Selma producer/actress Oprah Winfrey on another project, also based in the pelican state. This one is a TV series, but we’ll follow our Filmmaker of the Year anywhere.

Inspired by the novel “Queen Sugar” by Natalie Baszile, the series will be written, directed and executive produced by DuVernay with Winfrey also executive producing and taking on a recurring role. The project sounds like a mini-series, especially for involving the filmmaker in such heavy capacity, but the length and scope is not clear from the press release (via The Wrap). All that is being reported is that it’ll air on Winfrey’s OWN channel (her first time acting on her own network), that they’ll begin shooting later this year and that the plot will follow an upscale woman and her teenage daughter in their move from Los Angeles to Louisiana (LA to LA) when the mother inherits a sugar cane farm.

If OWN has never been a major player in the must-see TV department, DuVernay is bringing a good deal of prestige to the channel with this project. I have high hopes that this will be strong, auteur-driven television along the lines of the first season of True Detective — also set in Louisiana – albeit with a very different sort of tone with its its fish-out-of-water premise and promise of a romantic narrative. And maybe it’ll be the sort of thing that goes on to win her numerous other much-deserved awards – none of which can technically be an Oscar, but who needs those old fools?

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.