AFI Film Festival 2010
|Born||Ava Marie DuVernay
Long Beach, California, United States
|Occupation||Filmmaker, screenwriter, marketer|
|Years active||1999 – present|
Ava Marie DuVernay is an American filmmaker, marketer and film distributor. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere.
Attended University of California, Los Angeles.
DuVernay formed The DuVernay Agency, later known as DVA Media + Marketing, in 1999. The award-winning marketing and publicity firm has provided strategy and execution for more than 100 film and television projects by directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann, Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Bill Condon, Raoul Peck and Gurinder Chadha.
In 2008, DuVernay made her feature directorial debut with the documentary, This Is the Life, a history of LA's Good Life Cafe's arts movement.
In 2010, she directed several network music documentaries, including My Mic Sounds Nice for BET Networks and the Essence Music Festival 2010 for TV One.
In 2011, DuVernay's first narrative feature film, I Will Follow, a drama starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, was released theatrically. Roger Ebert championed the film, stating, "'I Will Follow' is one of the best films I've seen about coming to terms with the death of loved one." I Will Follow was an official selection of AFI Fest, Pan-African Film Festival, Urbanworld and Chicago International Film Festival.
In the summer of 2011, DuVernay began production on her second feature film, Middle of Nowhere. The film was acquired by AFFRM and Participant Media at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it played in U.S. Dramatic Competition and garnered the Best Director Award for DuVernay, the first African-American to ever win the prize. DuVernay also won the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for her work on the film.
In 2013 DuVernay partnered with Miu Miu as part of their ad campaign Women's Tales. Her short film The Door starred actress Gabrielle Union and reunited DuVernay with her Middle of Nowhere star Emayatzy Corinealdi. The film was later presented at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.
She also 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 the black arthouse film collective known as AFFRM.
In June of that year, DuVernay was invited to both the director's and writer's branches of AMPAS. DuVernay was only the second black woman, following Kasi Lemmons, to be invited to the director's branch.
In August DuVernay released a second short film through Vimeo entitled Say Yes. The film was sponsored by cosmetic brand Fashion Fair and starred Kali Hawk and Lance Gross. Julie Dash, Victoria Mahoney, Lorraine Toussaint and Issa Rae appeared as extras in the film.
On January 7, 2011, an article entitled "Building An Alliance To Aid Films By Blacks" by Michael Cieply was published in The New York Times about DuVernay's effort to organize African-American film festivals and orchestrate theatrical releases for black independent films. The collective is called the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement or AFFRM. DuVernay's "I Will Follow" marked the first theatrical release of AFFRM on March 11, 2011. "I Will Follow" grossed a per-screen-average of $11,563, and expanded from five screens in five cities to 22 screens in 15 cities after its first weekend. AFFRM released the 2011 Sundance Audience Award winner "Kinyarwanda," on December 2, 2011. AFFRM released the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection "Restless City" by Andrew Dosunmu in April 2012. AFFRM releases Ava DuVernay's, "Middle of Nowhere," Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for Best Director, on October 12, 2012. In 2013, AFFRM has released Storm Saulter's "Better Mus' Come" and Neil Drumming's "Big Words." In 2014, AFFRM has so far released the BP Oil Spill documentary, "Vanishing Pearls" by Nailah Jefferson.
|2013||Say Yes for Fashion Fair||Director/Writer||Branded Short|
|2013||Venus VS.||Director/Writer||Television Documentary|
|2013||The Door for Prada||Director/Writer||Branded Short|
|2012||Middle of Nowhere||Director/Writer||Narrative Feature Film|
|2011||I Will Follow||Director/Writer||Narrative Feature Film|
|2010||My Mic Sounds Nice||Director/Executive Producer||Television Documentary|
|2010||Essence Music Festival '10||Director/Writer||Television Documentary|
|2010||Faith Through the Storm||Director/Writer||Television Documentary|
|2008||This Is the Life||Director/Producer||Feature Documentary|
|2007||Compton in C Minor||Director/Producer||Short Documentary|
|2006||Saturday Night Life||Director/Writer||Narrative Short|
- Demby, Gene (2012-01-30). "Sundance 2012: Ava Duvernay Becomes First Black Woman To Win Best Director Prize For Middle Of Nowhere". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- Brooks Barnes (2012-01-27). "Market for Films Signals Good, Not Great, Year for Sundance". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Manohla Dargis (2012-01-27). "Amazing Child, Typical Grown-Ups". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Kirsten West Savali (2012-01-29). "Straight Outta Compton: Ava Makes Black History At Sundance!". Newsone.com. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Roger Ebert. "Ebert Presents review of "I Will Follow"". Ebertpresents.com. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Roger Ebert (2011-03-08). "Chicago Sun-Times review of "I Will Follow"". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Rothe, E. Nina (2013-08-30). "Best of Venice 70: "Miu Miu Women's Tales" - The Door and Le Donne della Vucciria". Huffington Post.
- OBENSON, TAMBAY. "Huge! Ava DuVernay Tapped By Brad Pitt's Plan B To Take Over Lee Daniels' 'Selma'". Indie Wire. Retrieved 16 July 2013.