Ava DuVernay to launch fund focused on storytelling around police violence

Los Angeles, Jun 9 (PTI) Filmmaker Ava DuVernay has announced a new initiative to combat police brutality and abuse which will use storytelling as a method to hold officers accountable amid the worldwide protests against the custodial killing of George Floyd.

Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed African American man, was suffocated to death last month by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Titled Law Enforcement Accountability Project, or LEAP, which DuVernay is backing via her Array media company, is a fund focused on storytelling around police violence and abuse that will commission projects across multiple forms of media including film, literature, theatre, dance, fine art and music.

The director, whose credits include films on slavery and racism like 'Selma', 'The 13th' and Netflix miniseries 'When They See Us', said LEAP is specifically looking at storytelling through the lens of police accountability.

'There is a lack of accountability happening at police departments, police unions and in the courts, a lack of laws on the books that really protect citizens from officers who have a certain number of grievances.

'The idea is that if the courts won't do it, if the police unions won't do it, if the departments won't do it, then people can do it,' DuVernay told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.

The fund is aimed at empowering activists to pursue narrative change and is envisioned as a two-year project to launch at least 25 works of art.

The 47-year-old director said not being able to call out the names of the perpetrators of police abuse and killing is a 'big national blind spot'.

'It bothers me that I can rattle off the names of 30, 40 victims of police abuse and killing, but I can't say who did it. We have this kind of social contract, where we don't speak the names of these people. And we kind of agree that they won't be prosecuted, and we won't say their names... It is a storytelling issue,' she added. PTI RDS RDS