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A filmmaker needs more than directing skills to make it in the big league, and an activist needs more than a political agenda to change the world. Ava DuVernay brings this point home in “Selma,” the first major motion picture portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr.

Prior to making “Selma,” DuVernay developed her filmmaking skills by working in music, production, marketing, publicity and even as an actress before grabbing the megaphone with her directorial debut feature, “I Will Follow,” in 2010.

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