Ava DuVernay’s “Origin” Unveils Her Film About Author Isabel Wilkerson & The Creation of a Masterpiece

Ava DuVernay’s latest film, Origin, is having its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 6, yet powerhouse indie studio Neon has already acquired worldwide rights to the film. Now, Neon has revealed the first look at the film centered on the life of “Caste” and “The Warmth of Other Suns” author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson, played by Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor. The marriage of auteur and material couldn’t be a better fit, as the Selma and When They See Us director brings a bracing vision and moral clarity to her work, the same of which can be said about the brilliant Wilkerson.

Origin is inspired by Wilkerson’s astonishing, Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents,” which came out in 2020 and became an instant must-read. The trailer gives us a glimpse at Wilkerson’s life as she works on her momentous book, threading the various strands and themes that Wilkerson wove throughout her book.

DuVernay’s career has been no less hard-fought and brilliantly executed. She’s the first Black woman director in competition in Venice’s 80-year history, and with Origin, she’s presenting a work she also wrote and produced. “While grappling with tremendous personal tragedy, Isabel sets herself on a path of global investigation and discovery,” the film’s Venice press notes read. “Despite the colossal scope of her project, she finds beauty and bravery while crafting one of the defining American books of our time.”

Joining Ellis-Taylor in the cast are Audra McDonald, Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Nick Offerman, Black Underwood, Finn Wittock, Connie Nielsen, and Jasmine Cephas-Jones.

“I’ve known Ava for a long time, and my love and admiration for her and her work goes back further, even before Middle of Nowhere,’” said Neon’s CEO and founder Tom Quinn in a statement, referring to DuVernay’s 2012 film. “I’m truly humbled that it is this movie which has finally brought us together. She has always been a gifted storyteller, and her mastery of her craft shines through in this deeply personal and inspired adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s book and dramatization of her remarkable life. Origin proves once again that Ava remains one of the most groundbreaking and essential filmmakers of her generation.”

Check out the trailer for Origin here. No release date has been set yet.

Featured image: VENICE, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 03: Ava DuVernay attends the amfAR Gala Venezia 2023 presented by Mastercard and Red Sea International Film Festival on September 03, 2023 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images)



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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.