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Speaker Snapshot
  • Directed the film "Selma," which was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture
  • Directed the film "A Wrinkle in Time"
  • Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary for "13th"
  • Founded ARRAY, a community-based distribution collective dedicated to promoting films by women and people of color
  • Named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2017
Biography
Award-Winning Director

Ava DuVernay is a writer, producer, director, and distributor of independent film. She most notably directed the film "Selma," the documentary "13th," and the recent fantasy epic "A Wrinkle in Time."

DuVernay is also a leading voice in the fight for inclusion in the entertainment industry. She is the founder of ARRAY, a community-based film collective with the mission of amplifying and distributing films by people of color and women.

"Selma" chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture, a first for a film by a black female director. Her acclaimed documentary, "13th," was released on Netflix and explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the nation's prison system. "13th" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, and won four awards out of its eight Emmy nominations.

‎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 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 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.

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