Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay
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Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Birth Name: Ava Marie DuVernay               

Nickname/Stage Name: Ava DuVernay

Birth Date: August 24, 1972   

Genre: Drama

Occupation: Filmmaker   

Years Active: 2005 till Present

Net Worth: $60 million


Personal life

Ava DuVernay was born in Long Beach, California. She would spend her summer vacations at her father's childhood home, which was not far from Selma, Alabama. These summers inspired the making of Selma, according to DuVernay, because her father witnessed the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches.

The only thing known about DuVernay's personal life is her rumored relationship with Common. When Duvernay and Common co-starred in Ava's 2014 film Selma, rumors of a relationship began to circulate. Ava didn’t confirm the rumors, and Common is confirmed to be dating Tiffany Haddish presently.


She graduated from Lakewood's Saint Joseph High School in 1990 and majored in English literature and African-American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

DuVernay is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority as an honorary member.


An internship with CBS News inspired DuVernay's decision to pursue journalism as a career. She was tasked with assisting with the coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder trial.  However, she became disillusioned with journalism and moved into public relations, where she worked as a junior publicist for 20th Century Fox, Savoy Pictures, and a few other firms.

In 1999, she founded The DuVernay Agency, also known as DVAPR, a public relations company. In 2005, she made the decision to take $6,000 to make her first film titled Saturday Night Life. It is based on her mother's experiences.

DuVernay next started exploring documentaries and she directed the short Compton in C Minor. In 2011, her first narrative feature film I Will Follow was released theatrically and late movie critic Roger Ebert called it "one of the best films I've seen about coming to terms with the death of a loved one."

She directed Selma, a film made on a $20 million budget. It was nominated for Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards. In July 2016, it was announced that her documentary 13th would open the New York Film Festival. 

13th was released in October 2016 on Netflix to critical acclaim, with a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Her next film A Wrinkle in Time from Disney was released in 2018. It garnered mixed reviews.

When They See Us, a four-episode miniseries directed by her was released on Netflix in May 2019. It received universal acclaim.


African-American Film Critics Award (2011)

Sundance Film Festival Award (2011)

Film Independent Spirit Award (2012)

African-American Film Critics Award (2012)

Women Film Critics Circle Award (2012)

Black Reel Award (2013)

Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award (2014)

Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award (2014)

African-American Film Critics Association Award (2014)

Black Reel Award (2014, 2016)

Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award (2016)

Critics' Choice Documentary Award (2016)

Women Film Critics Circle Award (2016)

Primetime Emmy Award (2017)


"Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal."

"Film school was a privilege I could not afford."

"I'm a prison abolitionist because the prison system as it is set up is not working. It's horrible."

"I think I am a little jealous of women who have great girlfriends as adults."


I Will Follow (2010)

Middle of Nowhere (2012)

Selma  (2014)

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

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