Ava DuVernay

A gifted, socially conscious writer, director and producer, Ava DuVernay went from in-demand publicist to helming her own projects when she saw a gap in the marketplace for non-stereotypical African-American independent films. After experiencing success with the award-winning documentaries "This is the Life" (2008) and "My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip-Hop" (BET, 2010), DuVernay turned her focus to narratives features with the acclaimed tale of moving on from grief, "I Will Follow" (2011), the first release from her industry-changing collective, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM). DuVernay impressed critics even further with her follow-up, "Middle of Nowhere" (2012), the story of a woman (Emayatzy Corinealdi) who makes enormous personal sacrifices to support her incarcerated husband (Omari Hardwick) but eventually reaches a personal crossroads. Her film dramatizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1965 civil rights march, "Selma" (2014), was even more acclaimed. Earning massive acclaim across the board, DuVernay made history as the first African-American winner of Best Director from the Sundance Film Festival. Blessed with a huge talent to match her social conscience, Ava DuVernay excited critics and fans who were proud to join her in championing challenging African-American independent films of depth and substance. DuVernay also broke ground on television with a collaboration with longtime friend and mentor Oprah Winfrey, "Queen Sugar" (OWN 2016- ) and was tapped to direct the film version of the classic children's fantasy "A Wrinkle In Time," making her the first African-American woman to helm a feature with a budget over one hundred million dollars.