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Ava DuVernay

Filmmaker
Date Of Birth:
24 August 1971
Place Of Birth:
Long Beach, California
Before Ava DuVernay gained international recognition as the director of the 2014 movie Selma, she spent nearly fifteen years as a film marketer and publicist. She grew up in the Los Angeles area and graduated from UCLA in 1995, with a degree in African-American Studies and English. After working for a few years in the film marketing business, DuVernay opened her own firm in 1999. After a few years and several high profile clients, she began writing her own movie -- what became her second feature, 2012's Middle of Nowhere (her first feature was 2011's ultra-low-budget I Will Follow). Middle of Nowhere earned DuVernay a best director award at the Sundance Film Festival (it co-starred David Oyelowo, who would later play Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma). Her other directing credits include the 2009 documentary This is the Life, an ESPN documentary on Venus Williams (Venus Vs.), the television series Queen Sugar (2016) and the documentary feature 13th (2016).
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