Ava DuVernay

Director/Writer/Producer, Middle of Nowhere
Nominated for: John Cassavetes Award

Ava DuVernay made her feature directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed 2008 hip hop documentary, “This is The Life.” Winner of Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle, the LA WEEKLY raved, “This is The Life vaults into the upperechelons of must-see hip-hop documentaries.”

In 2010, she wrote, produced and directed the narrative feature, I Will Follow, starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield. Released theatrically in 2011, 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 directed and produced three network music documentaries in 2010. My Mic Sounds Nice is a definitive history of female hip hop artists. Essence Music Festival 2010 is a two-hour concert film chronicling the nation’s largest annual African-American entertainment gathering. Faith Through the Storm is a documentary about black women Katrinasurvivors. Each film aired on BET and TV One respectively.

Previously, DuVernay worked as a film marketer and publicist for 15 years, forming DVA Media + Marketing in 1999. 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 UCLA graduate, DuVernay is the founder of AaFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement and a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She is based in Los Angeles.