Celebrating Black Women Ava Duvernay Sundance 2012: Becomes First Black Woman To Win Best Director Prize

Sundance 2012: Ava Duvernay Becomes First Black Woman To Win Best Director Prize For ‘Middle Of Nowhere’

Ava DuVernay (born August 24) is an American filmmaker, film marketer and film distributor.

DuVernay formed The DuVernay Agency, later known as DVA Media + Marketing, in 1999. The award-winning marketing and publicity firm has provided strategy and execution for more than 100 film and television projects by directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann, Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Bill Condon, Raoul Peck and Gurinder Chadha


In 2008, DuVernay made her feature directorial debut with the documentary, This Is the Life. In 2010, she directed several network music documentaries, including “My Mic Sounds Nice” for BET Networks and the Essence Music Festival 2010 for TV One.

In 2011, DuVernay’s first narrative feature film, “I Will Follow,” a drama starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, was released theatrically. Roger Ebert championed the film, stating “‘I Will Follow’ is one of the best films I’ve seen about coming to terms with the death of loved one.” “I Will Follow” was an official selection of AFI Fest, Pan-African Film Festival, Urbanworld and Chicago International Film Festival.

In summer of 2011, DuVernay began production on her second feature film, “Middle of Nowhere.”

Film Distribution

On January 7, 2011, an article entitled “Building An Alliance To Aid Films By Blacks” by Michael Cieply was published in the New York Times about DuVernay’s effort to organize African-American film festivals and orchestrate theatrical releases for black independent films. The collective is called the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement or AFFRM. DuVernay’s “I Will Follow” marked the first theatrical release of AFFRM on March 11, 2011. “I Will Follow” grossed a per-screen-average of $11,563, and expanded from five screens in five cities to 22 screens in 15 cities after its first weekend.


YearFilmRoleNotes2012 Middle of Nowhere Director/Writer Narrative Feature Film 2011 I Will Follow Director/Writer Narrative Feature Film 2010 My Mic Sounds Nice Director/Executive Produer Television Documentary 2010 Essence Music Festival ’10 Director/Writer Television Documentary 2010 Faith Through The Storm Director/Writer Television Documentary 2008 This is The Life Director/Producer Feature Documentary 2007 Compton in C Minor Director/Producer Short Documentary 2006 Saturday Night Life Director/Writer Narrative Short 

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