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Mercedes Cooper Speaks On How ARRAY Is Disrupting Old Hollywood Institutions

October 07, 2019
October 07, 2019

For Ava DuVernay’s film distribution and resource collective ARRAY, it’s never been business as usual. Originally named AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement) when it launched in 2010, DuVernay’s collective has expanded to acquiring and distributing independent films by people of color and women of all backgrounds around the world. Now with a nonprofit arm and a brand-new, 50-seat, DGA-compliant theater on its campus, ARRAY is continuing its efforts to disrupt the Hollywood status quo.

“When we started, it was solely to disrupt the distribution model of Hollywood,” one of ARRAY’s original staffers and now Director of Programming Mercedes Cooper told Shadow And Act after a tour of the campus. “We’re very grassroots; we’re not a studio system,” Cooper shared of ARRAY’s efforts to market and distribute independent films without using the traditional methods of billboards, commercials and radio spots. “That was our foundation, to disrupt distribution so we could start to infiltrate those screens with the work we want to see, that we know there’s an audience for.”

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