Speaker

Ava DuVernay

Writer, Producer, Director

Ava DuVernay is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent films. Nominated for two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, five Critics Choice awards, eight NAACP Image Awards and five Independent Spirit Awards, DuVernay's most recent film, "Selma," chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. DuVernay directed the film from her screenplay. Her previous narrative feature, "Middle of Nowhere," earned DuVernay the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Best Director Award, making her the first African American to win the prize. She also won the 2013 John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award and the Tribeca Film Institute 2013 Affinity Award for writing, producing and directing the film. In 2010, she wrote, financed, produced and directed her first narrative feature, "I Will Follow," a family drama 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," winner of Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle. She has directed for television with the documentaries "Venus Vs." for ESPN, "My Mic Sounds Nice" for BET, and "John Legend Interludes" and "Essence Music Festival" for TV One. In 2013, she directed an episode of ABC’s top-rated drama series "Scandal," and acclaimed fashion and beauty films for Prada and Fashion Fair. Previously, DuVernay worked as a marketer and publicist for more than 14 years, forming DVA Media + Marketing in 1999. Her award-winning firm provided strategy and execution for more than 120 film and television campaigns for directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann and Bill Condon. A graduate of UCLA, DuVernay is the founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She is a board member of Film Independent and Sundance Institute.