Ava Marie DuVernay is an American screenwriter, film producer, director, and publicist. She has been involved in the production of several movies, some of which have seen her win awards and accolades.
As a screenwriter, film director, and producer, Ava DuVernay has worked on the following movies – “I Will Follow,” “Middle of Nowhere,” “This is the Life,” “13th,” “Selma,” and “A Winkle in Time.”
She received the Directing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival courtesy of her film “Middle of Nowhere“, making her the first black female recipient of the award.
She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director. Also, one of the films she directed made her receive an Academy Award nomination for the Best Picture category.
She created the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) series titled “Queen Sugar” in 2016 as well as the Netflix mini-series “When They See Us.” She is part of the team behind the OWN anthology series titled “Cherish the Day.” As a producer, she also worked on The CW superhero production drama titled “Naomi.”
As a publicist, Ava launched her company The DuVernay Agency in 1999. In 2017, Time Magazine included her in their list of “The Most Influential People in the World“.
In 2020, she was elected to the board of directors of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. As of today, Ava DuVernay has a net worth of $70 million. Continue reading to find more interesting details about her.
|Full Name||Ava Marie DuVernay|
|Place of Birth||Long Beach, California, United States|
|Date of Birth||24 August 1972|
|Age||51 years old (2023)|
|Education||Saint Joseph High School, University of California|
|Height||5′ 6″ (168 cm)|
|Weight||146 lbs (66 kg)|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
|Hair Color||Dark Brown|
|Father||Joseph Marcel DuVernay III|
|Siblings||Nicholas, Kristopher, Tera, Jina, and Lashica|
|Occupation||Filmmaker, Film Director, Producer, Publicist, and Screenwriter|
|Net Worth||$70 Million|
Early Life and Biography
Ava DuVernay was born on August 24, 1972, in Long Beach, California to the family of Joseph Marcel Duvernay III and Darlene Sexton.
Her biological father originated from Louisiana. Her mother on the other hand was an educator. Her parents separated while she was little, so she was raised by her mother and her stepfather Murray Maye in Lynwood with her four siblings.
She attended the Saint Joseph High School in Lakewood. Later, she enrolled at the University of California in Los Angeles, where she majored in African-American studies and English literature. In 1990, she completed her degree program and graduated from the university.
Ava traveled to her father’s ancestral home near Selma, Alabama during the summer. Her visits there inspired and influenced her to make the film “Selma.”
Right after her graduation from the university, Ava DuVernay had wanted to venture into journalism. Her first job was at a small studio as a publicist.
She interned at CBS News, which allowed her to take a role in the coverage of O.J. Simpson’s murder. She took the role of a junior publicist at Savoy Pictures and 20th Century Fox before creating her own company The DuVernay Agency (DAVAPR) in 1999.
The DuVernay Agency was set up to provide PR services. They have worked on several campaigns for TV shows and movies, including Lumumba, Dreamgirls, The Terminal, etc. She also has other business ventures such as Urban Beauty Collective.
Ava DuVernay made her first film in 2005 during the Christmas holidays. The short film “Saturday Night Life” was made with $6,000. In February 2007, the film was featured on Showtime’s “Black Filmmaker Showcase.”
After making a short film, she thought about making a documentary. Soon after, she directed and produced a short documentary titled “Compton in C Minor” in 2007. After that, she made a full-length documentary dubbed “This is the Life” in 2008.
In 2010, Ava DuVernay released the film “I Will Follow” starring stars like Sallie Richardson-Whitfield. The film was inspired by her experience as a caregiver for Denise Sexton, her aunt. She also disclosed that the film cost $50,000 to make.
Her second narrative movie “Middle of Nowhere” was released in the summer of 2011. The film earned her several accolades, including the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.
Ava was hired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to make a film about African-American history. The film “August 28: A Day in the Life of a People” premiered at the museum’s launch in September 2016.
In 2014, she directed the film “Selma,” which reportedly cost over $20 million to make. The film was inspired by the 1965 Selma to Montogomery march and it was based around the story of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ava rewrote most of Paul Webb’s original screenplay but didn’t receive credits as a contributing screenwriter.
The film, which starred David Oyelowo as King was produced by Plan B Entertainment and was released on the Christmas day of 2014. The film “Selma” received a nomination for Best Picture in the Academy Awards. She was one of the Golden Globe Award nominees as Best Director for her work in the film.
Similarly, Ava DuVernay wrote, produced, and directed the documentary movie “13th” released in 2016. The movie won a Peabody Award and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 2017.
She produced the TV drama series “Queen Sugar” in 2016 with Oprah Winfrey as the co-executive producer. Over 75 episodes of the drama series were aired on American television.
Ava DuVernay began directing the film “A Wrinkle in Time” for Disney on 8 February 2016. The film starred actors like Michael Peña, Reese Witherspoon, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah. The $100 million film is based on the 1962 Madeleine L’Engle novel.
In November 2018, she signed a $100 million production deal with Warner Bros. The multi-year exclusive production deal with see her company Forward Movement make film and TV projects for the company to compete with Netflix.
In 2019, she created the mini-series “When They See Us,” a narrative of the 1989 Central Park jogger case. The movie earned her eleven Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
DuVernay produced “Colin in Black & White,” a limited series about Colin Kaepernick’s adolescent years in 2021. She directed the first episode of the series. In 2022, she started writing the script for the superhero drama “Naomi” and executively produced it with Jill Blankenship.
Ava DuVernay has directed several TV documentaries. Also, she directed the first-ever BET music documentary entitled “My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women and Hip Hop.”
Awards, Honors, and Nominations
Ava DuVernay has received several awards and honors from various organizations over her impeccable career. She was honored with the Best Screenplay Awards from AAFCA for her work in “I Will Follow” and “Middle of Nowhere” in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
In 2013, “Middle of Nowhere” won her the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Also, she received the Pioneer Award at the 2014 Black Film Critics Circle Awards.
In 2015, she was nominated for Best Director – Motion Picture in the Golden Globe Awards for her work in the film “Selma.” She won the Dorothy Arzner Directors Award at the 2015 Women in Film Crystal Awards. The same year, Ava DuVernay was named ‘Woman of the Year’ at the “Elle” Women in Hollywood Awards.
In 2017, she received the Innovation Award from the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). Other awards she received the same year are the Impact Award at the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle Awards, the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing at the BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards, and the Hollywood Excellence Award at the I See You Awards.
In 2017, her film “13th” earned her an Academy Award nomination for the Best Documentary Feature category. Also, she has received many Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning categories such as Nonfiction Special or Outstanding Documentary and “Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming” for the film “13th” in 2017.
Other Primetime Emmy nominations include; Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming, and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or a Dramatic Special for the film “When They See Us.”
Her film “13th” won her several awards from the following:
- BAFTA Awards.
- Alliance of Women Film Journalists.
- Awards Circuit Community Awards.
- Black Reel Awards.
- Cinema Eye Honors Awards.
- Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.
- Humanitas Prize.
- International Documentary Association.
- Women Film Critics Circle Awards.
Likewise, she received awards from Gotham Awards, AAFCA TV Honors, Black Reel Awards for Television, and Humanitas Prize for the film “When They See Us.”
The “Selma” movie got a Grammy nomination in the Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media category but won awards from the following:
- African-American Film Critics Association.
- Alliance of Women Film Journalists.
- Americana Film Fest.
- Black Film Critics Circle Awards.
- Black Reel Awards.
- Christopher Awards.
- Cinema for Peace Awards.
- GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.
- Palm Springs International Film Festival.
- Women Film Critics Circle Awards.
In 2018, she won several awards, including the PGA Awards Visionary Award, the GLAAD Media Awards Excellence in Media Award, and the NAACP Image Awards Entertainer of the Year Award. The following year, she received the Legacy Award at the Odyssey Awards and the Tribute Award at the Gotham Awards.
In 2020, DuVernay won the Humanitas Prize Voice for Change Award as well as the Showmanship Award for Television at the ICG Publicists Awards. The same year, she received the EDA Female Focus Award from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists for her outstanding feat in the film industry.
Other awards won by DuVernay include two Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival awards, two Black Reel Awards, and two Hollywood Black Film Festival awards.
She also won an NAACP Image Award for the film “Queen Sugar,” a Sundance Film Festival award for the film “Middle of Nowhere,” and a Toronto ReelWorld Film Festival award for her work on “This Is the Life.” Ava DuVernay has been nominated for the Critics’ Choice Television Award.
Ava DuVernay is one of the famous persons who keeps personal details secret, especially when it concerns matters about family and relationships.
She has not disclosed details about her personal life, and no one knows of her boyfriend, husband, or kids. However, there were rumors of a relationship with rapper Common, who composed the music for her film “Selma.”
Ava DuVernay follows a vegan diet and was named in PETA’s Most Beautiful Vegan Celebrities of 2018 with Benedict Cumberbatch.
In 2017, she purchased a 3,600-square-foot home in the Hollywood Hills area for $1.85 million. The property features four bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, and other facilities. She listed the home on the market and flipped it for $2.06 million after a few months.
In 2019, she bought a 7,380-square-foot home in Los Felix for $9.8 million. She bought the property from The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz.
Ava DuVernay Net Worth
Ava DuVernay’s career as a filmmaker, director, and screenwriter has been full of achievements. Undoubtedly, she has made a lot of money from her career, from signing deals with multi-million companies and producing some of the best movies and TV shows of all time.
Some of her best works as a filmmaker and producer include Selma, This is the Life, Middle of Nowhere, and A Winkle in Time. Ava’s net worth is around $70 million.