Ava Marie Duvernay was born on August 24, 1972, in California, USA. Duvernay graduated from high school in 1990 and thereafter progressed to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where she did a double major in English literature and African–American studies.
Ava’s first interest was in journalism and as such interned at Columbia Broadcasting System popularly known as CBS News where she was assigned to cover the OJ Simpson murder trial. Later on she moved to the public relations world where she became a publicist for the 20th Century Fox, Savoy pictures and many other PR agencies before opening her own PR firm – Duvernay Agency also known as DVAPR – in 1999.
Through her PR firm, she has been providing marketing services to the entertainment and lifestyle industry in the US working on campaigns for movies and television shows. Her journey to film directing began during the filming of 2004 thriller Collateral. It is here that she became inspired to make her own films.
In 2006, Ava started releasing short films such as Saturday Night Life and also worked on other projects including documentaries. One of her famous documentaries is This is Life, which focused on alternative hip-hop artists, that is, artists whose music don’t conform to any of the traditional forms of rap. She also released a documentary that highlighted the plight of women in the hip-hop industry.
In 2010, she made her feature film debut as director and screen writer with the drama I Will Follow – a play about a woman who is grieving over the loss of her aunt to cancer.
The following year, Duvernay co-founded the African–American film festival-releasing movement that focusses on releasing and distributing black independent movies.
The soon to be 46-year-old is the first African-American female director to receive a Golden Globe nomination and in 2016 received another Oscar nomination for her documentary The 13TH. The documentary explores issues such as race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States.
Her contribution in the film industry is notable, and her latest work – A Wrinkle in Time – which was released this year, scales her even higher on the charts of great film directors.