Ava DuVernay

Ava Marie DuVernay (born August 24, 1972) is an American director, screenwriter, producer, and former rapper. In the 1990s, DuVernay was active in the Los Angeles underground hip hop scene, performing under the names AvA and Eve, and as one half of the duo Figures of Speech with fellow female MC Ronda Ross (aka Jyant). DuVernay's debut film, music documentary "This Is the Life" (2008), chronicled the rise and enduring influence of the scene of which she had been a part, focusing on its epicenter at the famous open mic nights in the Good Life Cafe, where many major west coast underground hip hop artists got their starts. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay won the Best Director Prize for her second feature film "Middle of Nowhere", becoming the first African-American woman to win the award. For her work on "Selma" (2014), DuVernay was the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and also the first to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, though she was not nominated for Best Director. In 2017, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for her political documentary "13th" (2016).

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Selma (2014)

IntenseSlow movingRealDramatic

"Selma," as in Alabama, the place where segregation in the South was at its worst, leading to a march that ended in violence, forcing a famous statement by President Lyndon B. Johnson that ultimately led to the signing of the Voting Rights Act.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  David Oyelowo  •  Tom Wilkinson  •  Carmen Ejogo  •  André Holland

"Selma," as in Alabama, the place where segregation in the South was at its worst, leading to a march that ended in violence, forcing a famous statement by President Lyndon B. Johnson that ultimately led to the signing of the Voting Rights Act.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  David Oyelowo  •  Tom Wilkinson  •  Carmen Ejogo  •  André Holland

Life Itself (2014)

The surprising and entertaining life of renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert (1942-2013): his early days as a freewheeling bachelor and Pulitzer Prize winner, his famously contentious partnership with Gene Siskel, his life-altering marriage, and ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Steve James
CAST:  Roger Ebert  •  Stephen Stanton  •  Werner Herzog  •  Martin Scorsese

The surprising and entertaining life of renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert (1942-2013): his early days as a freewheeling bachelor and Pulitzer Prize winner, his famously contentious partnership with Gene Siskel, his life-altering marriage, and ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Steve James
CAST:  Roger Ebert  •  Stephen Stanton  •  Werner Herzog  •  Martin Scorsese

Middle of Nowhere (2012)

When her husband is sentenced to eight years in prison, Ruby drops out of medical school in order to focus on her husband's well-being while he's incarcerated - leading her on a journey of self-discovery in the process.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  David Oyelowo  •  Maya Gilbert  •  Sharon Lawrence  •  Emayatzy Corinealdi

When her husband is sentenced to eight years in prison, Ruby drops out of medical school in order to focus on her husband's well-being while he's incarcerated - leading her on a journey of self-discovery in the process.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  David Oyelowo  •  Maya Gilbert  •  Sharon Lawrence  •  Emayatzy Corinealdi

I Will Follow (2010)

Chronicles a day in the life of a grieving woman, and the twelve visitors who help her move forward.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Salli Richardson-Whitfield  •  Tracie Thoms  •  Omari Hardwick  •  Dijon Talton

Chronicles a day in the life of a grieving woman, and the twelve visitors who help her move forward.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Salli Richardson-Whitfield  •  Tracie Thoms  •  Omari Hardwick  •  Dijon Talton

This Is the Life (2008)

In 1989, a collective of young hip hop artists gathered at a health food café in South Central Los Angeles. Their mandate? To reject gang culture and expand the musical boundaries of hip hop. DuVernay's documentary chronicles the historic legacy of the Good Life ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Cut Chemist  •  Medusa  •  Big Al  •  Chali 2na

In 1989, a collective of young hip hop artists gathered at a health food café in South Central Los Angeles. Their mandate? To reject gang culture and expand the musical boundaries of hip hop. DuVernay's documentary chronicles the historic legacy of the Good Life ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Cut Chemist  •  Medusa  •  Big Al  •  Chali 2na

The Door (2013)

The Door, by Ava DuVernay, is a celebration of the transformative power of feminine bonds, and a symbolic story of life change.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Gabrielle Union  •  Alfre Woodard  •  Emayatzy Corinealdi  •  Adepero Oduye

The Door, by Ava DuVernay, is a celebration of the transformative power of feminine bonds, and a symbolic story of life change.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Gabrielle Union  •  Alfre Woodard  •  Emayatzy Corinealdi  •  Adepero Oduye

Venus VS. (2013)

We know about the swing. We know about the swagger. But what most Americans don't know about Venus Williams is how she changed the course of her sport. In a stunning case that captured the European public beginning in 2005, Williams challenged the long-held ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Venus Williams  •  Billie Jean King

We know about the swing. We know about the swagger. But what most Americans don't know about Venus Williams is how she changed the course of her sport. In a stunning case that captured the European public beginning in 2005, Williams challenged the long-held ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Venus Williams  •  Billie Jean King

13th (2016)

Thought provokingPowerfulInsightfulReal

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Jelani Cobb  •  Angela Davis  •  Skip Gates, Jr.  •  Michelle Alexander

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Jelani Cobb  •  Angela Davis  •  Skip Gates, Jr.  •  Michelle Alexander

Say Yes (2013)

This short film by Ava DuVernay celebrates a love of African-American culture, camaraderie, love and romance.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Kali Hawk  •  Lance Gross

This short film by Ava DuVernay celebrates a love of African-American culture, camaraderie, love and romance.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Kali Hawk  •  Lance Gross

My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women and Hip Hop (2010)

Ava DuVernay focuses on the history of female MCs in the hip hop industry in this short documentary that features Missy Elliott, Salt-N-Pepa, Eve, Jean Grae, Roxanne Shante, Trina, The Lady of Rage, and many more.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Chuck D  •  Missy Elliott  •  Cheryl 'Salt' James  •  Sandra 'Pepa' Denton

Ava DuVernay focuses on the history of female MCs in the hip hop industry in this short documentary that features Missy Elliott, Salt-N-Pepa, Eve, Jean Grae, Roxanne Shante, Trina, The Lady of Rage, and many more.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Chuck D  •  Missy Elliott  •  Cheryl 'Salt' James  •  Sandra 'Pepa' Denton

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Storm Reid  •  Deric McCabe  •  Levi Miller  •  Reese Witherspoon

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Storm Reid  •  Deric McCabe  •  Levi Miller  •  Reese Witherspoon

August 28: A Day in the Life of a People (2017)

Documentary film on events that happened on August 28th in African-American history, shown at the Smithsonian African-American History Museum.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Don Cheadle  •  Regina King  •  Angela Bassett  •  Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Documentary film on events that happened on August 28th in African-American history, shown at the Smithsonian African-American History Museum.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST:  Don Cheadle  •  Regina King  •  Angela Bassett  •  Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Girls Trip (2017)

Four girlfriends take a trip to New Orleans for an annual festival and, along the way, rediscover their wild sides and strengthen the bonds of sisterhood.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Malcolm D. Lee
CAST:  Regina Hall  •  Queen Latifah  •  Jada Pinkett Smith  •  Tiffany Haddish

Four girlfriends take a trip to New Orleans for an annual festival and, along the way, rediscover their wild sides and strengthen the bonds of sisterhood.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Malcolm D. Lee
CAST:  Regina Hall  •  Queen Latifah  •  Jada Pinkett Smith  •  Tiffany Haddish

The Female Lead - A Selection of Portraits (2017)

The interviews show these extraordinary women sharing their diverse journeys, personal stories, and perspectives, and the effect is both inspiring and empowering. The Female Lead is an initiative founded by data pioneer and entrepreneur Edwina Dunn to make women’s ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Marian Lacombe
CAST:  Ava DuVernay  •  Tavi Gevinson  •  Mhairi Black  •  Christiane Amanpour

The interviews show these extraordinary women sharing their diverse journeys, personal stories, and perspectives, and the effect is both inspiring and empowering. The Female Lead is an initiative founded by data pioneer and entrepreneur Edwina Dunn to make women’s ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Marian Lacombe
CAST:  Ava DuVernay  •  Tavi Gevinson  •  Mhairi Black  •  Christiane Amanpour

13th: A Conversation with Oprah Winfrey & Ava DuVernay (2017)

In this 30-minute interview, Oprah Winfrey sits down with director Ava DuVernay to discuss her Oscar-nominated film, historical cycles of oppression and the broken prison system.  (more)

DIRECTION: 
CAST:  Ava DuVernay  •  Oprah Winfrey

In this 30-minute interview, Oprah Winfrey sits down with director Ava DuVernay to discuss her Oscar-nominated film, historical cycles of oppression and the broken prison system.  (more)

DIRECTION: 
CAST:  Ava DuVernay  •  Oprah Winfrey

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2018)

The epic life story of Alice Guy-Blaché (1873–1968), a French screenwriter, director and producer, true pioneer of cinema, the first person who made a narrative fiction film; author of hundreds of movies, but banished from history books. Ignored and forgotten. At ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Pamela B. Green
CAST:  Alice Guy-Blaché  •  Richard Abel  •  Evan Rachel Wood  •  Marc Abraham

The epic life story of Alice Guy-Blaché (1873–1968), a French screenwriter, director and producer, true pioneer of cinema, the first person who made a narrative fiction film; author of hundreds of movies, but banished from history books. Ignored and forgotten. At ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Pamela B. Green
CAST:  Alice Guy-Blaché  •  Richard Abel  •  Evan Rachel Wood  •  Marc Abraham

Half the Picture (2018)

At a pivotal moment for gender equality in Hollywood, successful women directors tell the stories of their art, lives and careers. Having endured a long history of systemic discrimination, women filmmakers may be getting the first glimpse of a future that values ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Amy Adrion
CAST:  Rosanna Arquette  •  Lena Dunham  •  Sam Taylor-Johnson  •  Ava DuVernay

At a pivotal moment for gender equality in Hollywood, successful women directors tell the stories of their art, lives and careers. Having endured a long history of systemic discrimination, women filmmakers may be getting the first glimpse of a future that values ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Amy Adrion
CAST:  Rosanna Arquette  •  Lena Dunham  •  Sam Taylor-Johnson  •  Ava DuVernay

Aggie (2020)

An exploration of the nexus of art, race, and justice through the story of art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund who sold Roy Lichtenstein’s painting “Masterpiece” in 2017 for $165 million to start the Art for Justice Fund to end mass incarceration.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Catherine Gund
CAST:  Agnes Gund  •  Ava DuVernay  •  Thelma Golden  •  Glenn Ligon

An exploration of the nexus of art, race, and justice through the story of art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund who sold Roy Lichtenstein’s painting “Masterpiece” in 2017 for $165 million to start the Art for Justice Fund to end mass incarceration.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Catherine Gund
CAST:  Agnes Gund  •  Ava DuVernay  •  Thelma Golden  •  Glenn Ligon

Oprah Winfrey Presents: When They See Us Now (2019)

Oprah Winfrey talks with the exonerated men once known as the Central Park Five, plus the cast and producers who tell their story in "When They See Us".  (more)

DIRECTION:  Mark Ritchie
CAST:  Oprah Winfrey  •  Ava DuVernay  •  Korey Wise  •  Yusef Salaam

Oprah Winfrey talks with the exonerated men once known as the Central Park Five, plus the cast and producers who tell their story in "When They See Us".  (more)

DIRECTION:  Mark Ritchie
CAST:  Oprah Winfrey  •  Ava DuVernay  •  Korey Wise  •  Yusef Salaam

Saturday Night Life (2006)

Writer-director Ava DuVernay's short drama concerns a poor, struggling single mother whose trip with her three children to a 99-cent store in Los Angeles becomes an unexpectedly uplifting family experience. Melissa DeSousa ("The Best Man") stars.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST: 

Writer-director Ava DuVernay's short drama concerns a poor, struggling single mother whose trip with her three children to a 99-cent store in Los Angeles becomes an unexpectedly uplifting family experience. Melissa DeSousa ("The Best Man") stars.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ava DuVernay
CAST: 
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