Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic
February 15, 2017 10:33 AM EST

Ava DuVernay doesn’t need to approach filmmaking like a man.

In the cover story for Essence‘s “Black Women in Hollywood” issue, the famed director opened up about her creative process. “I don’t have to approach film like a man would, or like anybody else I read about, because it’s personal…so there’s no right way or wrong way,” DuVernay told the magazine.

DuVernay, whose documentary 13th is nominated for an Oscar this year, instead likes to instill a sense of warmth and familiarity onto her film sets. “I like to know my cast personally,” she said. “[It’s important to] imbue the sets and the experience with a sense of myself, a sense of warmth, a sense of family, not shying away from the things…that make me a Black woman, and just embracing those things and letting that come out in the material itself.”

She also opened up about why her films, which include the acclaimed Selma and the forthcoming A Wrinkle in Time, are so important to her. “I don’t have children. These films are my children,” she said. “I’m going to give them all the love and nurturing I can and send them out into the world to do what they’re gonna do.”

Essence‘s March issue hits newsstands on Feb. 17. Read more at Essence.com

Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com.

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