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 film was released theatrically and debuted on Showtime in April 2009. The Los Angeles Times raved, “This Is the Life vaults into the upper echelons of must-see hip-hop documentaries.”
In 2010, she wrote, produced and directed the feature, “I Will Follow,” starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Omari Hardwick and Beverly Todd. 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 and holds the distinction of being BET Networks first original music documentary. “Essence Music Festival 2010” is a two-hour concert film for TV One chronicling the nation’s largest annual African-American entertainment gathering. “Faith Through The Storm” is a documentary for TV One about women in New Orleans who have reclaimed their lives after personal devastation during Hurricane Katrina.
Most recently, DuVernay completed principal photography on her second feature, “Middle of Nowhere”. The film will be released in 2012.
Previously, DuVernay worked in the world of film 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 acclaimed directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann, Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Bill Condon, Raoul Peck and Gurinder Chadha.
A UCLA graduate, DuVernay is the founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement and a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She is based in Los Angeles.