We sat down with director Ava DuVernay and three of the cast members (David Oyelowo, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Omari Hardwick) from her new film, Middle of Nowhere, shortly after its world premiere at Sundance, 2012. A story centered on a woman, Ruby, who changes her life in order to be closer to her husband after he’s been sentenced to 8 years in prison, the film focuses on the stress and heartbreak she endures to keep her life in order. Further testing her already strained relationship with her sometimes antagonistic mother, who she must reach out to for financial support, Ruby realizes that she may be making the wrong sacrifices.
In our interview, we discuss DuVernay’s casting process (she has a knack for seeking out well known and underutilized actresses) between this film and her excellent first feature from last year, I Will Follow, which in turn explores some shared themes with her latest work, including tempered mother/daughter relationships and characters losing those closest to them. The cast and director weigh in on the notion of a new wave black cinema movement in independent American cinema, the dangers of labels, and the importance of diversity in the independent film scene.