Filmmaker Ava Duvernay's latest film, Origin, hits Hulu and deals with racism, anti-Semitism, caste and emotions

LOS ANGELES — “Origin” is based on the nonfiction book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by journalist Isabel Wilkerson. It examines racism in America as an aspect of a caste system based on perceived racial hierarchies, inclusion, and exclusion. The film examines the effects of the caste system and uses stories of slavery, Nazis, and even Trayvon Martin to illustrate its points.

“I think there's something about the film that creates word of mouth,” Duvernay said. “After seeing it, most people recommend it.”

DuVernay, who adapted the book for the screen, admits that her labor of love, made with funding from nonprofits, has struggled at the box office, so she's thrilled that “Origin” is finding a home and a new audience on Hulu.

“Oh, in most areas of the country, you've never seen 'Origin' in theaters. So this is an opportunity to tell a story that means so much to people in all sorts of places beyond the big cities from the comfort of their own homes. 'Origin' on Hulu seems like the right fit, but even all these months later, you know, I feel like filmmakers give their film a chance at the box office and then move on. And to me, those films are evergreens,” Duvernay said. “I mean, they keep living and breathing and growing and evolving. And so I'm always following my films and watching them and trying to find new ways for them to find new audiences.”

And with Origin, there's something new. DuVernay and her team have put their work and research into an online learning companion to give you a deeper understanding of the complex subject matter you experience in the film.

“And you can find these incredible learning guides that aren't dry. They have videos. They have behind-the-scenes footage of us making the film. They have all the details of any question you might have. It's in there!” DuVernay said. “It's important for people to appreciate films made by filmmakers you may not know, smaller films, independent films. And even when I was a publicist, I would always come to you with films that were kind of off the beaten path, like 'Origin,' films that maybe didn't fit the perfect mold of a studio film, and you always shed some light on them.”

DuVernay knew that Origin needed to have a learning companion for those who wanted to know more, so they worked on that while they were making the film.

“Origin” will premiere on Hulu on Monday, June 10.

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