On one level, my conversation with DeMane Davis explores her journey from copywriter to feature filmmaker, spot helmer and now episodic TV director (her latest episode of Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar airs on OWN November 8). On another level, it is an exploration of this moment in time, culturally, sociologically, and in some way, therapeutically.
DeMane’s first two features, Black & White & Red All Over, and LIFT (starring Kerry Washington), debuted in Dramatic Competition at Sundance. Roger Ebert called the former “remarkable,” and Amy Taubin named it “One of the Most Original American Indies of 1997.” LIFT won the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.
The Boston native started out at agencies such as Heater Advertising, and as an award-winning Copywriter/Creative Director, DeMane’s national and international brand clients have included Nike, Citibank, Cigna and the BET Awards, to name a few.
We bounce around from DeMane’s latchkey childhood – during which she pretended to act in commercials in front of the mirror – to the transition from make-believe to becoming a paid creative, and, of course, getting “the email” from Ava DuVernay. DeMane also reflects on the relevance her earlier work has in today’s fractious and troubled climate. We talk about hope, love, coming together, and the possibility of change.
On the lighter side, we also chat about some of our favorite movies (Sexy Beast, among them), The Jerky Boys and why the Cockney dialect is useful in dealing with telemarketers and credit card companies.