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Ava DuVernay Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (29)

Overview (3)

Born in Long Beach, California, USA
Birth NameAva Marie DuVernay
Height 5' 5¾" (1.67 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A director, producer, writer, marketer and film distributor, Ava DuVernay made her feature film debut with the documentary This in the Life (2008), a history on hip hop movement that flourished in Los Angeles in the 1990's. This was followed by series of television music documentaries which included My Mic Sounds Nice (2010) which aired on BET.

DuVernay's first narrative feature film, I Will Follow (2010), secured her the African-American Film Critics Association award for best screenplay. Her follow-up, Middle of Nowhere (2012) won the Best Director Prize at the 2012 Sundance film festival, making her the first African-American woman to receive the award.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: SaphMB

Trivia (6)

Founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement.
In 2012, she became the first African American woman to win the Best Director Prize at Sundance Film Festival. She won the award for her second feature, Middle of Nowhere (2012).
In June 2013, she was invited to join both the director's and writer's branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is only the second black woman, following Kasi Lemmons, to be invited to the director's branch.
She is the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She received the nomination for her film Selma (2014).
Older sister of Jina DuVernay.
Merited a place in TIME magazine's "The 100 Most Influential People" issue with an homage written by Venus Williams. [May 2017]

Personal Quotes (29)

Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal.
Film school was a privilege I could not afford.
When I'm marketing a film, whether its mine or someone else's, I work with a great deal of strategy and elbow grease until the job is done.
I'm a prison abolitionist because the prison system as it is set up is just not working. It's horrible.
If you're doing something outside of dominant culture, there's not an easy place for you. You will have to do it yourself.
I think I am a little jealous of women who have great girlfriends as adults.
In documentaries, there's a truth that unfolds unnaturally, and you get to chronicle it. In narratives, you have to create the situations so that the truth will come out.
I wish I could be the black woman Soderbergh, and put the camera on my shoulder and shoot beautifully while I directed.
All the films I do, I write the scripts, I direct.
Filmmakers need to realize that their job isn't done when they lock picture. We must see our films through.
I think that if we really want to break it down, that non-black filmmakers have had many, many years and many, many opportunities to tell many, many stories about themselves, and black filmmakers have not had as many years, as many opportunities, as many films to explore the nuances of our reality.
All the traditional models for doing things are collapsing; from music to publishing to film, and it's a wide open door for people who are creative to do what they need to do without having institutions block their art.
I don't understand the iPhone. I just don't get it. Don't ya'll have to write serious emails throughout the day? How can you possibly manage detailed missives on a phone with no keys?
I make films about black women and it doesn't mean that you can't see them as a black man, doesn't mean that he can't see them as a white man or she can't see them as a white woman.
I didn't start out thinking that I could ever make films. I started out being a film lover, loving films, and wanting to have a job that put me close to them and close to filmmakers and close to film sets.
As long as you're in an environment where the worth of the project isn't based on the project but what its predecessors did, it's not truly inclusive.
I've been to Sundance eight times as a publicist and thought I was very prepared. I mean, who could've been more prepared for me? A publicist who's been there eight times. Getting there as a filmmaker was a completely surreal, different, unexpected experience.
I think good publicists are just like good mommies - always looking out, making sure folks are comfortable and making sure that folks are on time and making sure that folks are getting what they need and know what they need to do.
I really admire Werner Herzog and Spike Lee. They're amazing documentarians. If you took away all the narratives, they'd just be amazing documentarians.
I just don't think there's a lot of support for the woman's voice in cinema, and it becomes really difficult to raise that money and start again every time.
I think for female filmmakers a big issue is making their second and third films.
I think that women definitely have a special bond as friends that is hard to describe to men, and we don't often see that portrayed narratively.
I tell the stories that are of interest to me.
You know, often films that are deemed positive, nobody wants to see them.
I didn't go to film school. I got my education on the set as a niche publicist in the film industry.
Positive characterizations are complex characterizations. That's all we need to know. They shouldn't be saccharine. They shouldn't feel like medicine.
We're told that independent film lovers... folks that are used to watching art house films, won't come out and see a film with black people in it - I've been told that in rooms, big rooms, studio rooms, and I know that's not true.
[on filming Selma (2014) in the same area of Alabama where she grew up] I never approached it as, 'Oh my God, I'm making a film about Mr. King'. I just focused on making a film about an ordinary man doing extraordinary things in a place I know very well.
[on Frederick Wiseman's documentaries] I saw High School (1969) at UCLA, I was just riveted. First of all, just the form - 'What is this? What am I watching?' - just the intimacy of it. It's people in institutions, people bumping up against the systems. It's fascinating how he finds this intimacy within the epic and that there's life there in systems that are very lifeless. The way the camera moves and what it's interested in I'm interested in even though I didn't know I was interested in it until he looked at it, until he showed it to me. Seeing it for the first time, it just felt raw. I cannot think of a documentary that I saw before "High School." That was a documentary to me. [2017]

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