Awards season is in full swing and all of Hollywood is abuzz with their predictions for who will win. Today, we’ll be taking a look at someone who has been receiving a lot of praise for her indie work this year: Ava DuVernay.
You may know her for directing and co-writing SELMA (2014), but her humble beginnings began outside of the film industry. DuVernay actually began in broadcast journalism during college, but switched to public relations after graduation. After working for different PR firms, in 1999, she formed her own agency: The DuVernay Agency, later called DVA Media + Marketing. Through this firm, she gained exposure to the film industry as she consulted for several directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and Michael Mann.
She made her feature directorial debut with the documentary THIS IS THE LIFE (2008), followed up with her first narrative feature film, I WILL FOLLOW (2011). In true indie fashion, both films were primarily self-financed. Her next film was MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (2012), which won her the Best Director Award for U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. She is the first African-American woman to win the award. Additionally, she won the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for the film.
This year, we see DuVernay at the Independent Spirits again for her work on SELMA. In fact, the film went on to earn her a nomination for a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Director and a Golden Globe Award for Best Director, becoming the first African-American woman to become nominated for the category. Similarly, the film itself has garnered all sorts of praise, even going on to become nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. DuVernay breaks another record with this nomination, as she is the first African-American female director to have a film nominated for that category.
This has been an exciting year for Ava DuVernay, but it seems like she’ll have many more exciting years to come. She’s fairly new to the scene, so we look forward to what she comes up with next.