“I Will Follow” is a movie written, produced, directed and distributed by a black woman. It’s about black women, and it is getting high praise from critics, including Roger Ebert – who is married to a black woman.

Yeah, you heard me.

On the heels of Black History Month and in the middle of Women’s History Month, Los Angeles-based writer and director Ava DuVernay is making her own kind of history with “I Will Follow,” her first feature-length film.

Click here to hear Nikki Woods’ “What in the Weekend?” report.

“I Will Follow” is about a family tragedy that brings some people together while forcing others to examine matters they’ve preferred to ignore. It boasts a smart, well-written script that explores an array of emotions, is touched with sadness, but ultimately results in inspiration and hope. Sallli Richardson Whitfield, Blair Underwood and Omari Hardwick lead up an all-star cast and bring not only their talent but an obvious passion for the project.

Without question, “I Will Follow” is a full dose of humanity that makes me proud to be a black woman. But what makes me even prouder is that DuVernay has created a vehicle to help others by offering a new model to independent filmmakers.

DuVernay attributes her success to the many African-American film festivals held annually throughout the country. Realizing that these festivals were the key to widespread distribution for black films, she decided to launch the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement. AFFRM is a collaboration of black film festivals brought together to help independent filmmakers release their projects in select cities across the nation.

Click here to listen to Ava DuVernay talk about “I Will Follow” and black women in front of and behind the camera. And click here for a list of AMC theaters where you can see – and support – this groundbreaking movie and movement.

Nikki Woods is senior producer of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” The author of “Easier Said Than Done,” the Dallas-based Woods is currently working on her second and third novels. You can friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter: @nikkiwoods.

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