‘Moonlight’ director Barry Jenkins ready to return to work

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two months after his “Moonlight” pulled out a last-second, best-picture win at the Oscars, director Barry Jenkins says “it’s time to work.”

“You live your whole life — not for this moment, but to have a career. So I have a career now. So I’m going to keep going with it,” Jenkins said Thursday at the Los Angeles premiere of the Netflix series “Dear White People.”

He directed an episode of the series — which looks at race relations and identity on a college campus — in the middle of last year’s Hollywood awards circuit promotional push for “Moonlight,” which also earned Academy Awards for best supporting actor and best adapted screenplay.

“So my only 10 days off were the 10 days I spent directing this episode. Which was really cool — it was a really good experience,” Jenkins said.

Since the Oscars, Jenkins says he spent a month in Mexico.

“I went to Uxmal, which are the Maya ruins. And it was amazing. You talk about being humbled. I grew up in Miami. A 90-minute flight from Miami, there are these pyramids – this whole civilization, this city that pre-existed ours in America. Wonderful, man,” he said. “It’s the best thing to do after winning an Academy Award.”

Jenkins says he’s in regular contact with his cast — consulting with them as they navigate possible Hollywood projects.

“They hit me up about choices they are making, decisions they are making,” Jenkins said. “You know, Mahershala (Ali) has a very young kid, so I haven’t seen him as much. So yeah, we are all a family. The ‘Moonlight’ tour has ended, but that family continues.”

The series “Dear White People” is based on 2014 movie of the same name. Jenkins is also working on an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Underground Railroad.”

The best-picture win for “Moonlight” was made more dramatic because of an error that led to “La La Land” being named first before the error was corrected onstage.

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