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Ava Marie DuVernay (; born August 24, 1972) is an American filmmaker. She won the directing award in the U.S. dramatic competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film '' Middle of Nowhere'', becoming the first black woman to win the award. For her work on '' Selma'' (2014), DuVernay became the first black woman to be nominated for a
Golden Globe Award for Best Director The Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture is a Golden Globe Award The Golden Globe Awards are accolades bestowed by the 87 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HF ...
, and also the first black female director to have her film nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Picture The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises ...
. In 2017, she was nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature The Academy Award for Documentary Feature is an award for documentary films. In 1941, the first awards for feature-length documentaries were bestowed as Special Awards to '' Kukan'' and '' Target for Tonight''. They have since been bestowed compe ...
for her film ''
13th In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associa ...
'' (2016). DuVernay's 2018 Disney children's fantasy film ''
A Wrinkle in Time ''A Wrinkle in Time'' is a young adult novel written by American author Madeleine L'Engle Madeleine L'Engle Camp (; November 29, 1918 – September 6, 2007) was an American writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and young adult fiction Yo ...
'' made her the first black woman to direct a live-action film earning $100 million at U.S. box office but had losses of up to $131 million. The film received mixed reviews, with critics taking issue "with the film's heavy use of
CGI CGI may refer to: Technology * Computer-generated imagery, computer-graphic effects in films, television programs, and other visual media * Computer Graphics Interface, the low-level interface between the Graphical Kernel System and hardware * Comm ...
. The following year, she created, co-wrote, produced and directed the
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
drama limited series ''
When They See Us ''When They See Us'' is a 2019 American crime drama Crime films, in the broadest sense, is a film genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its dete ...
'', based on the 1989
Central Park jogger case The Central Park jogger case (events also referenced as the Central Park Five case) was a criminal case in the United States over the aggravated assault and rape of a white woman in Manhattan's Central Park on April 19, 1989, occurring during a s ...
, which has earned critical acclaim. The series was nominated for 16 Emmy Awards including the
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series represents excellence in the category of limited series that are two or more episodes, with a total running time of at least 150 minutes. Criteria The program must tell a comple ...
and won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Limited Series. In 2017, DuVernay was included on the annual ''Time'' 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2020, DuVernay was elected to the
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or the Motion Picture Academy) is a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion ...
board of governors as part of the directors branch.


Early life and education

Ava Marie DuVernay was born on August 24, 1972, in
Long Beach, California Long Beach is a city in Los Angeles County, California. It is the list of United States cities by population, 42nd-most populous city in the United States, with a population of 466,742 as of 2020. A charter city, Long Beach is the List of citie ...
. She was raised by her mother, Darlene (
née __NOTOC__ A birth name is the name of the person given upon their birth. The term may be applied to the surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name 300px, First/given, middle and l ...
Sexton), an educator, and her stepfather, Murray Maye. The surname of her biological father, Joseph Marcel DuVernay III, originates with
Louisiana Creole Louisiana Creole ( lou, Kréyòl La Lwizyàn, links=no) is a French-based creole A French creole, or French-based creole language, is a creole language (contact language with native speakers) for which French is the ''lexifier''. Most often th ...
ancestry.Stated on ''
Finding Your Roots ''Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'' is a documentary television series hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. that premiered on March 25, 2012 on Public Broadcasting Service, PBS. In each episode, celebrities are presented with a "book of ...
'',
PBS The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster Public broadcasting involves , and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is . In many countries of the world, comes from governments, especially vi ...
, October 24, 2017.
She grew up in
Lynwood, California Lynwood is a city in Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the city had a total population of 69,772, down from 69,845 at the 2000 United States Census, 2000 census. Lynwood is located near South Gate, Ca ...
(near Compton). She has four siblings. During her summer vacations, she would travel to the childhood home of her father, which was not far from
Selma, Alabama Selma is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administrat ...
. DuVernay said that these summers influenced the making of ''Selma,'' as her father had witnessed the 1965
Selma to Montgomery marches The Selma to Montgomery marches were three protest marches, held in 1965, along the 54-mile (87 km) highway from Selma, Alabama Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, Alabama, Dallas County, in the Black Belt (region ...

Selma to Montgomery marches
. In 1990, DuVernay graduated from Saint Joseph High School in Lakewood. At the
University of California, Los Angeles The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. UCLA’s academic roots were established in 1882 as a teachers college then known ...
(UCLA), she was a double BA major in
English literature Literature written in the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by ...

English literature
and
African-American studies African-American studies (alternately named Afroamerican studies, or in US education, black studies) is an interdisciplinary academic field An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge that is Education, taught and r ...
. Ava is an honorary member of
Alpha Kappa Alpha Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (ΑΚΑ) is the first intercollegiate historically African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping ...
sorority.


Career

DuVernay's first interest was in journalism, a choice influenced by an internship with
CBS News CBS News is the news division of the American television and radio service CBS. CBS News television programs include the ''CBS Evening News'', ''CBS Mornings'', news magazine programs ''CBS News Sunday Morning'', ''60 Minutes'', and ''48 Hour ...

CBS News
. She was assigned to help cover the O.J. Simpson murder trial. DuVernay became disillusioned with journalism, however, and decided to move into public relations, working as a junior publicist at
20th Century Fox 20th Century Studios, Inc. (also known as 20th Century for short, and nicknamed 20th Pictures, formerly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation) is an American film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a maj ...
,
Savoy Pictures Savoy Pictures Entertainment, Inc. was an American independent motion picture company in operation from 1992 to 1997. Among Savoy Pictures' noteworthy feature films were '' A Bronx Tale'', '' No Escape'', '' Last of the Dogmen'' and '' Serial Mom' ...
, and a few other PR agencies. She opened her own public relations firm, The DuVernay Agency, also known as DVAPR, in 1999. Through DVAPR she provided marketing and PR services to the entertainment and lifestyle industry, working on campaigns for movies and television shows, such as '' Lumumba'', '' Spy Kids'', ''
Shrek 2 ''Shrek 2'' is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy film A comedy film is a category of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as pain ...
'', ''
The Terminal ''The Terminal'' is a 2004 American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Stanley Tucci. The film is about an Eastern European man who is stuck in John F. Kennedy Internationa ...

The Terminal
'', ''
Collateral Collateral may refer to: Business and finance * Collateral (finance) In loan agreement, lending agreements, collateral is a Borrower, borrower's pledge (law), pledge of specific property to a lender, to Secured loan, secure repayment of a loan. ...
'', and ''
Dreamgirls ''Dreamgirls'' is a Broadway musical, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen. Based on the show business aspirations and successes of Rhythm and blues, R&B acts such as The Supremes, The Shirelles, James Brown, Jackie Wi ...
''. Other ventures launched by DuVernay include Urban Beauty Collective, a promotional network that began in 2003 and had more than 10,000 African-American beauty salons and barbershops in 16 (20 since 2008) U.S. cities. They were mailed a free monthly ''
Access Hollywood ''Access Hollywood'', formerly known as ''Access'' from 2017 to 2019, is an American weekday television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochro ...
''-style promotion program called UBC-TV, the African-American blog hub Urban Thought Collective in 2008; Urban Eye, a two-minute long weekday celebrity and entertainment news show distributed to radio stations; an
HelloBeautiful
a digital platform for
millennial Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are the demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often ...
women of color Women of color (singular: woman of color, sometimes abbreviated as WOC) is a phrase used to describe female Person of color, non-whites. The political term "women of color" surfaced in the violence against women movement. In the late seventies it ...
.


Film

In 2005, over the Christmas holiday, DuVernay decided to take $6,000 and make her first film, a short called ''Saturday Night Life''. Based on her mother's experiences, the 12-minute film was about an uplifting trip by a struggling single mother ( Melissa De Sousa) and her three kids to a local Los Angeles discount grocery store. The film toured the festival circuit and was broadcast on February 6, 2007, as part of
Showtime Showtime or Show Time may refer to: Film * Showtime (film), ''Showtime'' (film), a 2002 American action/comedy film * Showtime (video), ''Showtime'' (video), a 1995 live concert video by Blur Television Networks and channels * Showtime Networks, ...
's ''Black Filmmaker Showcase''. DuVernay next explored making documentaries, because they can be done on a smaller budget than fiction films, and she could learn the trade while doing so. In 2007, she directed the short ''Compton in C Minor,'' for which she "challenged herself to capture Compton in only two hours and present whatever she found." The following year, she made her feature directorial debut with the
alternative hip hop Alternative hip hop (also known as alternative rap) is a subgenre of hip hop music Hip hop music or hip-hop music, also known as rap music, is a genre of popular music developed in the United States by inner-city African Americans. Puerto ...
documentary '' This Is the Life,'' a history of LA's
Good Life CafeThe Good Life Cafe was a health food market and cafe in Los Angeles, California, known for its open mic nights that helped the 1990s Los Angeles alternative hip hop movement flourish. In 2008, director Ava DuVernay, who had performed at the cafe with ...
's arts movement, in which she participated as part of the duo
Figures of Speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and ...
. In 2011, DuVernay's first narrative feature film, ''
I Will Follow "I Will Follow" is a song by rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, ...
'', a drama starring , was released theatrically. DuVernay's aunt Denise Sexton was the inspiration for the film. The film cost DuVernay $50,000 and was made in 14 days.
Roger Ebert Roger Joseph Ebert (; June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013) was an American Film criticism, film critic, film historian, journalist, screenwriter, and author. He was a film critic for the ''Chicago Sun-Times'' from 1967 until his death in 2013. In ...

Roger Ebert
called it "one of the best films I've seen about coming to terms with the death of a loved one." ''I Will Follow'' was an official selection of
AFI Fest The American Film Institute (AFI) is an American film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applyin ...
, Pan-African Film Festival, Urbanworld and
Chicago International Film Festival The Chicago International Film Festival is an annual film festival A film festival is an organized, extended presentation of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of used to simulate experien ...
. In the summer of 2011, DuVernay began production on her second narrative feature film, '' Middle of Nowhere'', from a script she had written in 2003 but could not get financed then. The film had its world premiere on January 20 at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it played in U.S. dramatic competition. It garnered the U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic for DuVernay. She was the first African-American woman to win the prize. DuVernay also won the
2012 2012 was designated as: *International Year of Cooperatives2012 was designated as the International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2009. The designation has honored the use of cooperative organiz ...
Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award The Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award is presented to the creative team of a film budgeted at less than $500,000 by the Film Independent, a non-profit organization dedicated to independent film and independent filmmakers. It is named after a ...
for her work on the film. DuVernay was commissioned by the 's
National Museum of African American History and Culture The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a Smithsonian Institution museum located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It was established in December 2003 and opened its permanent home in S ...

National Museum of African American History and Culture
to create a film about
African-American history African-American history is a part of History of the United States, American history that looks at the history of African Americans or Black Americans in the country. Of the 10.7 million Africans who were brought to the Americas by white Europeans ...
. Her ''August 28: A Day in the Life of a People'' explores six significant events that happened on the same date,
August 28 Events * 475 – The Roman Empire, Roman general Orestes (father of Romulus Augustulus), Orestes forces western Roman Emperors, Roman Emperor Julius Nepos to flee his capital city, Ravenna. * 489 – Theodoric the Great, Theodoric, kin ...
; it debuted at the museum's opening on September 24, 2016. The 22-minute film stars
Lupita Nyong'o Lupita Amondi Nyong'o (, ; ; born 1 March 1983) is a Kenyan-Mexican actress. The daughter of Kenyan politician Peter Anyang' Nyong'o and Dorothy Ogada Buyu, Nyong'o was born in Mexico City, where her father was teaching, and was raised in Kenya ...

Lupita Nyong'o
,
Don Cheadle Donald Frank Cheadle Jr. (; born November 29, 1964) is an American actor, author, director, producer and writer. Following early roles in '' Hamburger Hill'' (1987), and as the gangster "Rocket" in the film ''Colors (film), Colors'' (1988), Chea ...
,
Regina King Regina Rene King (born January 15, 1971) is an American actress and director. She is the recipient of List of awards and nominations received by Regina King, various accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and four Primetime ...

Regina King
,
David Oyelowo David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo ( ; born 1 April 1976) is a British-American actor and producer who holds dual British and American citizenship. His accolades include a Critics' Choice Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award Screen Actors Guild Awards ( ...

David Oyelowo
,
Angela Bassett Angela Evelyn Bassett (born August 16, 1958) is an American actress, director, producer, and activist. She is known for her biographical film roles, most notably her performance as Tina Turner in the biopic '' What's Love Got to Do with It'' (199 ...

Angela Bassett
,
Michael Ealy Michael Brown (born August 3, 1973), professionally known as Michael Ealy, is an American actor An actor is a person who portrays a character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (nov ...

Michael Ealy
,
Gugu Mbatha-Raw Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha-Raw (; born 21 April 1983) is an English actress. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA ) is a drama school in London, England, that provides vocational conservat ...
,
André Holland André Holland (born December 28, 1979) is an American actor, widely known for his 2016 performance as Kevin in the Academy Awards, Academy Award-winning film ''Moonlight (2016 film), Moonlight''. Throughout his career, Holland has acted in film ...
and
Glynn Turman Glynn Russell Turman (born January 31, 1947) is an American actor, writer, director, and producer. Turman is known for his roles as Lew Miles on the prime-time soap opera '' Peyton Place'' (1968–1969), high school student Leroy "Preach" Jackson ...

Glynn Turman
. Events depicted include
William IV William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death in 1837. The third son of George III, William succeeded his e ...

William IV
's royal assent to the UK Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old
Emmett Till Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941August 28, 1955) was a 14-year-old African Americans, African American who was Lynching in the United States, lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family's gr ...
in
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
, the release of
Motown Motown Records is an American record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other seller ...
's first number-one song, " Please Mr. Postman" by
The Marvellettes The Marvelettes were an American girl group A girl group is a music act featuring several women in music, female singers who generally vocal harmony, harmonize together. The term "girl group" is also used in a narrower sense in the United States ...
, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 ''
I Have a Dream "I Have a Dream" is a public speech that was delivered by American civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social o ...
'' speech, the landfall of
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and ...
in 2005, and the night Senator
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Barack Obama
accepted the Democratic nomination for president at the . Michael T. Martin says, "DuVernay is among the vanguard of a new generation of black filmmakers who are the busily undeterred catalyst for what may very well be a black film renaissance in the making." He further speaks of DuVernay's mission and "call to action" which constitutes a strategy "to further and foster the black cinematic image in an organized and consistent way, and to not have to defer and ask permission to traffic our films: to be self-determining." The DuVernay test is the racial equivalent of the
Bechdel test The Bechdel test ( ), also known as the Bechdel–Wallace test, is a measure of the representation of women in fiction. It asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that ...

Bechdel test
(for women in movies), as first suggested by ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
'' writers Nadia and Leila Latif and then by ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' film critic
Manohla Dargis Manohla June Dargis () is an American film critic Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communic ...
in January 2016, asking whether "blacks and other minorities have fully realized lives rather than serve as scenery in white stories." It aims to point out the lack of people of color in
Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of An ...

Hollywood
movie A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...

movie
s, through a measure of their importance to a particular movie or the lack of a gratuitous link to white actors.


''Selma''

DuVernay directed '' Selma'', a $20 million budget dramatic film produced by
Plan B Entertainment Plan B Entertainment, Inc., more commonly known as Plan B, is an American production company founded in November in 2001 by Brad Grey, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. In 2005, after Pitt and Aniston divorced, Grey became the CEO of Paramount Pic ...
, about the Rev. Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr.; January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist Baptists form a major branch of Protestantism, Protestant Christianity distinguished by baptizing professing Christianity, ...

Martin Luther King, Jr.
, President
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
, and the for voting rights. The movie was released on December 25, 2014 to critical acclaim. She made uncredited re-writes of most of the original screenplay by Paul Webb in order to emphasize King and the people of Selma as central figures. In an October 2020 interview on '' The Carlos Watson Show'', DuVernay claimed that she, rather than Webb, was the principal writer, saying that the biggest mistake of her career was allowing Paul Webb "to take credit for writing Selma when I wrote it. In response to criticism by some historians and media sources who accused her of irresponsibly rewriting history to portray her own agenda, DuVernay said that the film is "not a documentary. I'm not a historian. I'm a storyteller". The film was nominated for
Best PictureThis is a list of categories of awards commonly awarded through organizations that bestow film awards, including those presented by various film, festivals, and people's awards. Best Actor/Best Actress *See Best Actor#Film awards, Best Actress#Fi ...
and Best Original Song, but not
Best DirectorBest Director is the name of an award which is presented by various film, television and theatre organizations, festivals, and people's awards. It may refer to: Film awards * AACTA Award for Best Direction * Academy Award for Best Director * BAFTA ...
, at the 2014
Academy Awards The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking, i.e., ...

Academy Awards
. The lack of diversity among the Oscar nominations for 2014 was the subject of much press, especially on
Twitter Twitter is an American microblogging Microblogging is an online Broadcasting, broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actu ...

Twitter
. This film was the only one directed by a
person of color The term "person of color" (plural: people of color or persons of color; sometimes abbreviated POC) is primarily used to describe any person who is not considered "white White is the lightest color and is achromatic (having no hue). It is ...
that was nominated for the
87th Academy Awards The 87th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or the Motion Picture Academy) is a p ...
. The award for Best Original Song went to " Glory" from ''Selma''. DuVernay said that she had not expected to be nominated as director, so the omission did not really bother her; but she was disappointed that actor
David Oyelowo David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo ( ; born 1 April 1976) is a British-American actor and producer who holds dual British and American citizenship. His accolades include a Critics' Choice Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award Screen Actors Guild Awards ( ...

David Oyelowo
, who portrayed King, was not nominated as Best Actor. She said that the obstacles to people of color being represented in the Academy Awards were systemic.


''13th''

In July 2016, the
New York Film Festival The New York Film Festival (NYFF) is a film festival held every fall in New York City, presented by Film at Lincoln Center (FLC). Founded in 1963 by Richard Roud and Amos Vogel with the support of Lincoln Center president William Schuman, it is o ...
made the surprise announcement that ''
13th In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associa ...
'', a documentary directed by DuVernay, would open the festival. Until the announcement no mention of the film had been made by either DuVernay or
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
, the film's distributor. Centered on race in the United States criminal justice system, the film is titled after the
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution The Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally ...
, which outlawed slavery (unless as punishment for a crime). DuVernay's documentary opens with the statement that 25 percent of the people in the world who are incarcerated are incarcerated in the U.S., and argues that slavery has been effectively perpetuated in the U.S. through disproportionate
mass incarceration . Incarceration in the United States is a primary form of punishment , England Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or suffering, unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority In the fields of ...
of people of color. The film features several prominent activists, politicians, and public figures, such as
Bryan Stevenson Bryan Stevenson (born November 14, 1959) is an American lawyer, social justice activist, founder/executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and a law professor at New York University School of Law. Based in Montgomery, Alabama Montg ...
,
Angela Davis Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, philosopher, academic and author. She is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz The University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz or UCSC) ...

Angela Davis
,
Van Jones Anthony Kapel "Van" Jones (born September 20, 1968) is an American news and political commentator, author, and lawyer. He is the co-founder of several non-profit organizations, a three-time The New York Times bestseller list, ''New York Times'' b ...
,
Newt Gingrich Newton Leroy Gingrich (; né McPherson; born June 17, 1943) is an American politician and author who served as the 50th speaker of the United States House of Representatives The speaker of the United States House of Representatives, co ...

Newt Gingrich
,
Cory Booker Cory Anthony Booker (born April 27, 1969) is an American politician, attorney, and author who has served as the junior Junior or Juniors may refer to: Sport * Junior athletics, age-based athletic training and completion category * Instan ...

Cory Booker
,
Henry Louis Gates Jr. Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. (born September 16, 1950) is an American literary critic, professor, historian, filmmaker, and public intellectual who serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for Afric ...
, and others, who discuss such issues as convict leasing, the war on drugs, and disproportionate arrests, convictions and sentencing of minorities. It was released on October 7, 2016 on
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
. ''13th'' garnered acclaim from film critics and has a 97% rating on
Rotten Tomatoes Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley ...

Rotten Tomatoes
based on 94 reviews. The critical consensus says: "''13th'' strikes at the heart of America's tangled racial history, offering observations as incendiary as they are calmly controlled." In a review from Awards Circuit, Angela Davis said "''13th'' is probably the most important movie you'll ever see." In 2017, the film was nominated for an
Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature The Academy Award for Documentary Feature is an award for documentary films. In 1941, the first awards for feature-length documentaries were bestowed as Special Awards to '' Kukan'' and '' Target for Tonight''. They have since been bestowed compe ...
at the 89th Oscars; DuVernay became the first black woman to be nominated by the academy as a director in a feature category. The film also won a
Peabody Award The George Foster Peabody Awards (or simply Peabody Awards or the Peabodys) program, named for the American businessman and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, George Peabody, honor the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in ...
in 2017 and a Columbia Journalism School duPont Award in 2018.


''A Wrinkle in Time''

In 2010, it was announced that Disney carried the A Wrinkle in Time (2018 film), film rights to the 1962 novel ''A Wrinkle in Time''. Following the success of Tim Burton's ''Alice in Wonderland (2010 film), Alice in Wonderland'', Disney announced the hire of Jeff Stockwell to write the screenplay for Cary Granat and his new Bedrock Studios. Cary Granat had previously worked with Disney on the ''The Chronicles of Narnia (film series), Chronicles of Narnia'' and ''Bridge to Terabithia (2007 film), Bridge to Terabithia'' films. On August 5, 2014, Jennifer Lee (filmmaker), Jennifer Lee was announced as the screenwriter, taking over from Stockwell, who had written the first draft. On February 8, 2016, it was reported that DuVernay had been offered to direct the film, and she was confirmed as director later that same month. ''
A Wrinkle in Time ''A Wrinkle in Time'' is a young adult novel written by American author Madeleine L'Engle Madeleine L'Engle Camp (; November 29, 1918 – September 6, 2007) was an American writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and young adult fiction Yo ...
'' began filming in November 2016. DuVernay is the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million, and the second woman to do so after Patty Jenkins (who directed ''Wonder Woman (2017 film), Wonder Woman''). The film was released in March 2018 and brought in $33 million in its opening weekend, second at the box office behind ''Black Panther (film), Black Panther.'' Following Disney's Q2 earnings report in May 2018, Yahoo! Finance deduced the film would lose the studio anywhere from $86–186 million. Upon release, the film received mixed reviews, with critics "taking issue with the film's heavy use of Computer-generated imagery, CGI and numerous plot holes" while "celebrating its message of female empowerment and diversity."


Television

In 2010, DuVernay directed three TV documentaries. The first, two-hour concert film ''TV One Night Only: Live from the Essence Music Festival'', was a mix of live performances and behind-the-scenes vignettes. It aired August 28, 2010 on TV One (U.S. TV network), TV One and showcases the U.S.'s largest annual African-American entertainment gathering, the Essence Music Festival. In 2010 it was held July 2–4 in New Orleans. Two days later, BET premiered its first original music documentary, ''My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women and Hip Hop'', a 41-minute long history of female hip hop artists. On Thanksgiving (United States), Thanksgiving 2010, TV One showed DuVernay's 44-minute documentary special ''Essence Presents: Faith Through the Storm'', about two black sisters who reclaimed their lives after personal devastation during Hurricane Katrina. "It was done for a client, for ''Essence (magazine), Essence''. They wanted to talk about how faith helped them through, that was very important to them. So it is interspersed with gospel music, images of Katrina, their home and family." ESPN commissioned DuVernay to produce and direct ''Venus Vs.'', a documentary on Venus Williams's fight for equal prize money. This was to be included in their film series ''Nine for IX'', which aired on July 2, 2013. DuVernay also directed the John Legend episode of the performance-and-interview series ''HelloBeautiful Interludes Live'', which was shown September 14, 2013 on TV One as the series' broadcast premiere. She also directed the eighth episode of the third season of the political thriller television series ''Scandal (TV series), Scandal''. The episode, titled "Vermont is For Lovers, Too, Vermont is for Lovers, Too", premiered on November 21, 2013 on American Broadcasting Company, ABC. In 2015, DuVernay executive produced and directed the CBS civil rights crime drama pilot ''For Justice'', starring Anika Noni Rose. It was not picked up for distribution. That same year, DuVernay announced she would be creating and executive producing the drama series ''Queen Sugar'', based on Natalie Baszile's Queen Sugar (novel), novel. ''Queen Sugar'' premiered September 6, 2016 on Oprah Winfrey Network (U.S. TV channel), Oprah Winfrey Network to critical acclaim and positive reviews. DuVernay wrote four episodes and directed two. On August 1, 2016, the series was renewed for a second season ahead of its television premiere; it aired in a two-night premiere on June 20 and June 21, 2017. The series was renewed for a third season on July 26, 2017. In August 2018, OWN renewed the series for a fourth season, which premiered on June 12, 2019. On July 6, 2017, it was announced that
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
had given the production ''
When They See Us ''When They See Us'' is a 2019 American crime drama Crime films, in the broadest sense, is a film genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its dete ...
'' a series order consisting of four episodes. The series was created by DuVernay, who served as executive producer, co-writer, and director. Other executive producers credited, include Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh. Production companies involved with the series consisted of Participant Media, Harpo Films, and Tribeca Productions. The series premiered on Netflix on May 31, 2019. Upon its release, the miniseries received universal critical acclaim. On June 25, 2019, Netflix announced that the miniseries had been streamed by over 23 million viewers within its first month of release. It has received a record number of 16 nominations for Emmy Awards for writing, directing, and acting for stars and supporting actors.


Advertising and music videos

In 2013, DuVernay partnered with Miu Miu as part of their ''Women's Tales'' film series. Her short film ''The Door'' starred actress Gabrielle Union and reunited DuVernay with her '' Middle of Nowhere'' star Emayatzy Corinealdi. The film premiered online in February 2013 and was presented at the ''Venice Days'' sidebar of the 70th Venice International Film Festival in August. Also in August 2013, DuVernay released, through Vimeo,, uploaded August 8, 2013. a second branded short film entitled ''Say Yes''. The film was sponsored by cosmetic brand Ebony Fashion Fair, Fashion Fair and starred Kali Hawk and Lance Gross with Julie Dash, Victoria Mahoney, Lorraine Toussaint and Issa Rae appearing as extras. In 2015, Apple Music and their ad agency Translation hired DuVernay to helm a series of three commercials starring Mary J. Blige, Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington. The first ad, ''Chapter 1'', premiered during Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox's 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, Emmy broadcast on September 20, 2015. ''Chapter 2'' and ''Chapter 3'' debuted in November 2015 and February 2016, respectively. Her music video for the Jay-Z ft. Beyoncé song "4:44 (album)#Music videos, Family Feud" premiered December 29, 2017 on Tidal (service), Tidal.


Film distribution and production

In 2010 DuVernay founded African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), her own company to distribute films made by or focusing on black people. DuVernay refers to AFFRM as "not so much a business, but a call to action." Although she sees building strong business foundations for films is a priority, DuVernay has said that she stresses that the driving force of the organization is activism. In 2015 the company rebranded itself under the name ARRAY, promising a new focus on women filmmakers as well. DuVernay also owns Forward Movement, a film and television production company.


Future projects

In 2013, she announced development on a narrative feature film entitled ''Part of the Sky'' and set in Compton. In 2015, it was announced that DuVernay would be writing, producing, and directing a fictional account which will focus on the "social and environmental" aspects of Hurricane Katrina while including a love story and a murder mystery.
David Oyelowo David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo ( ; born 1 April 1976) is a British-American actor and producer who holds dual British and American citizenship. His accolades include a Critics' Choice Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award Screen Actors Guild Awards ( ...

David Oyelowo
was said to be part of the project. In 2018, it was announced that DuVernay would be directing a New Gods film for the DC Extended Universe. On May 29, 2019, DuVernay announced that she and Tom King (writer), Tom King will co-write the film. The movie was no longer moving forward by April 2021. On October 29, 2018, it was announced that DuVernay would be working with the estate of Prince (musician), Prince to direct a biopic covering his entire life for Netflix. However, in August 2019, it was announced that DuVernay quit as director due to "creative differences." On February 11, 2020, news reports came out about Ava DuVernay possibly co-producing and directing a Nipsey Hussle documentary for Netflix. On June 29, 2020, Netflix announced that they will feature a six-episode series, created by Ava DuVernay and Colin Kaepernick, titled "Colin in Black & White," centering on Kaepernick's youth and various events in his life that has led him to be the activist he is today. In October 2020, her next film, ''Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Caste'', an adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson's book, was officially announced for Netflix.


Other work

In September 2013, DuVernay started a podcast series called ''The Call-In,'' a series of phone conversations recorded by AFFRM of Black filmmakers of feature narrative and documentary work. DuVernay, in a keynote address at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, shared that she was the seventh choice of people asked to direct ''Selma'' and described her experience at the 87th Academy Awards, 2015 Oscars, while being an honor to be able to attend, it was just "a room in L.A." In February 2018 it was announced that DuVernay, along with producer Dan Lin and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, had launched the Evolve Entertainment Fund. The fund's mission is to promote inclusion and provide an opportunity for under-served communities to pursue a dream in the entertainment industry. Since May 2019, DuVernay has cohosted ''The Essentials (TCM), The Essentials'', a weekly film series on Turner Classic Movies, with Ben Mankiewicz. DuVernay has appeared in Interstitial program, wraparounds each Saturday night on the channel, discussing a wide range of films, including ''Marty (film), Marty'', ''Ashes and Embers'', ''Harlan County, USA'' and ''La Pointe Courte''.


Personal life

DuVernay is private about her romantic life. She has been linked to American rapper Common (rapper), Common, who starred in and wrote music for ''Selma''.


Filmography


Film

Short films


Documentary films


Television

Documentary series


Commercials


Music video


Awards, nominations, honors

*In 2012, ''Variety (magazine), Variety'' featured DuVernay in its Women's Impact Report. * In June 2013, she was invited to both the director's and writer's branches of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, AMPAS. DuVernay was only the second black woman, following Kasi Lemmons, to be invited to the director's branch. * DuVernay became the inaugural recipient of the Tribeca Film Institute's Heineken Affinity Award, receiving a $20,000 prize and industry support for future projects. DuVernay donated all the money to AFFRM, the black arthouse film collective she founded. * In June 2015, Duvernay was honored as part of Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards with the Dorothy Arzner Directors Award. * In April 2015 DuVernay was chosen as one of Mattel's "Sheros" of 2015. A custom-made one-of-a-kind Barbie in DuVernay's likeness was produced. The doll was auctioned off with the proceeds given to charity. Due to high demand, a collectible version of the doll was produced and sold in December of that year. * In 2016, DuVernay was named to Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey's ''SuperSoul 100'' list of visionaries and influential leaders * In 2017, DuVernay became the first black woman nominated for an
Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature The Academy Award for Documentary Feature is an award for documentary films. In 1941, the first awards for feature-length documentaries were bestowed as Special Awards to '' Kukan'' and '' Target for Tonight''. They have since been bestowed compe ...
, for her film ''
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''. *In 2017, DuVernay was the recipient of Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award for Visual Arts. *In 2018, DuVernay won Entertainer of the Year at the 49th NAACP Image Awards for her work in 2017. *People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA declared DuVernay and actor Benedict Cumberbatch to be the Most Beautiful Vegan Celebs of 2018. *In 2020, DuVernay was awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.


References


External links

* * *
Ava DuVernay
at ''Makers: Women Who Make America'' {{DEFAULTSORT:DuVernay, Ava 1972 births African-American film directors African-American film producers African-American screenwriters African-American television directors African-American television producers American film producers American people of Creole descent American people of French descent American publicists American television directors American women film directors American women film producers American women screenwriters Film directors from California Film producers from California Living people Louisiana Creole people People from Lynwood, California Primetime Emmy Award winners Screenwriters from California Television producers from California University of California, Los Angeles alumni Women television directors American women television producers American women television writers Writers from Long Beach, California American television writers