Ava DuVernay is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film. She is the director of Selma, which chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Most recently her critically acclaimed feature-length documentary, 13th was released on Netflix. The documentary explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the nation’s prison system.
DuVernay previously wrote, produced and directed the dramatic feature, Middle of Nowhere, which earned her the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Best Director Award. In 2010, she wrote, financed, produced and directed her first narrative feature, I Will Follow. The family drama was hailed by critic Roger Ebert as “one of the best films I’ve seen about the loss of a loved one.”
DuVernay made her directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed 2008 hip hop documentary, This Is the Life. She has since directed several network documentaries, including Venus Vs for ESPN. In 2013, she directed a sweeps episode of ABC’s top-rated Scandal, as well as acclaimed fashion and beauty films for Fashion Fair and Prada.
Prior to filmmaking, DuVernay worked as a marketer and publicist for 14 years. Her award-winning firm provided strategy and execution for more than 120 film and television campaigns for acclaimed directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann and Bill Condon.
A graduate of UCLA, DuVernay is the founder of ARRAY, a community-based distribution collective dedicated to the amplification of films by people of color and women filmmakers. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She sits on the board of both Film Independent and the Sundance Institute. She was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2017. DuVernay is based in Los Angeles.