Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has hailed fellow filmmaker Ava DuVernay as “a pioneer” who makes “the most distant dreams a reality”.
The pair worked across the hall from each other while Coogler was finishing his Marvel superhero hit and DuVernay was completing her new film A Wrinkle In Time.
In an essay for ESPN, he said: “Ava DuVernay is someone who makes the impossible look easy. It’s why I feel privileged to call her my big sister.
“I met her in 2013, but she’s one of those people who you feel like you’ve always known.”
Referencing Frances McDormand’s call during her Oscar speech for stars to demand inclusion riders in their contracts, which stipulates a certain percentage of employees on a film set be either women or minorities, he said: “Ava is a pioneer. She makes the most distant dreams and ideas a reality.
“She made a show called Queen Sugar and mandated the use of female directors and key creatives a full two years before the great Frances McDormand shared with the world what an inclusion rider was.
“Ava is inclusion, equity and representation.
“Ava is the past, present and future. She is all of these things, but sometimes I forget she is human.”
Celebrating the US release of A Wrinkle In Time, he said: “I watched closely from across the hall at Disney while working on Black Panther as my big sister inspired her crew with love and navigated the challenges of studio filmmaking, adapting a book that many people called unfilmable into a movie that explodes with hope, with love and with women warriors.”
DuVernay tweeted a link to Coogler’s essay, writing: “When your friend makes you tear up on opening day.”
This isn’t the first open letter Coogler has penned since Black Panther broke box office records.
He also penned his thanks to fans after audiences came out in droves to see the film on its opening weekend.