the gentlewoman

Ava DuVernay

Outspoken, political and tenacious, the American film director Ava DuVernay is the first black woman to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for her film Selma, which chronicles three significant months in the life of Martin Luther King. Her career in movies began in public relations, before she discovered her talent for filmmaking in 2004. Ava eventually closed her PR agency in 2011 to focus solely on writing and directing and by 2012 her feature film Middle of Nowhere had won her the best director prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Her live-action Disney adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, starring Reece Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey, was heavily praised for its diversity and female empowerment.

In addition to her work in cinemas, Ava promotes and helps distribute the work of independent black directors through AFFRM. A native Los Angelena who grew up in Compton, studied at UCLA and currently resides in Beachwood Canyon, Ava also hosts a podcast called The Call-In, featuring conversations with black filmmakers.