Ava DuVernay is returning to the big screen with her new feature, “Origin.”

The “Selma” and “13th” writer-director adapted the feature from 2020 nonfiction bestseller “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson. Aunjanue Ellis stars as author Isabel, a woman who faces personal tragedy and sets out to investigate what racism and pain look like on a global scale.

Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, Blair Underwood, Finn Wittrock, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, and Connie Nielsen also star.

The official synopsis reads: “While grappling with tremendous personal tragedy, Isabel sets herself on a path of global investigation and discovery. Despite the colossal scope of her project, she finds beauty and bravery while crafting one of the defining American books of our time.”

DuVernay produces along with Paul Garnes. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival before playing at TIFF.

“I’m not putting this out there seeking agreement. I’m seeking engagement,” DuVernay told Deadline about her goals for the film. “We have to talk about ‘how do we not see what’s going on?’ You know, they’re literally taking books off shelves in our country, they’re literally denying history, we can’t just say it’s ‘they’ — we are allowing it. It is happening here and now. So, looking back over history, we need to remember where this stuff leads. Understand that we’re in the midst of it. We can argue about it, we can debate it, but we need to be thinking about it and talking about it and actively engaging. And so that is my hope — I hope people come out of ‘Origin’ talking.”

“Origin” premieres January 19 in select theaters from Neon following an exclusive New York and Los Angeles limited one-week release from December 9. Check out the trailer below.

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