Ava DuVernay is an award-winning director, screenwriter and film distributor. She’s best known for her work on the movie’s Middle of Nowhere and Selma where she became the first African American woman director to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director.
DuVernay’s latest, the fantasy film A Wrinkle in Time, is slated to be released on March 9, 2018, with a star-studded female-led cast including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. DuVernay was granted a budget exceeding $100 million, making her the first black woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of that size.
Ava DuVernay Estimated Net Worth As Of 2018: $3 Million
Let’s take a look at DuVernay’s financial and career success that contributed to her net worth.
Ava Marie DuVernay was born on August 24, 1972, in Long Beach, California. DuVernay grew up in Lynwood, California and was raised by her mother, Darlene, an educator, and her stepfather, Murray Maye. In 1990 she graduated from Saint Joseph High School in Lakewood. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles and double majored in English literature and African-American studies, obtaining her bachelor’s degree.
After obtaining her degree, DuVernay pursued her first presumed love of journalism and worked as an intern for CBS News, covering the O.J. Simpson trial. Following her stint with journalism, she moved onto working in marketing and public relations.
1999 – 2004
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Proud to serve as the Honorary Chair of this year’s #SpiritAwards. Presented the inaugural Bonnie Award to an outstanding woman filmmaker: Chloe Zhao. Saw friends + cheered on fellow filmmakers who did great work this year. Thanks to Josh Welsh + @FilmIndependent for having me. xo Styling | @jasonbolden Gown | @gretaconstantine Face | @uzo2018 Locs | @drkariwill
DuVernay grew disillusioned with journalism and later moved on to marketing and public relations. She worked as a junior publicist at Fox, Savoy Pictures and a few other PR agencies. In 1999 she founded her own public relations firm, The Duvernay Agency, focusing on movie marketing specifically for the African American audience. After spending a lot of time around the film industry, DuVernay was inspired to make her own films.
2005 – 2010
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Gosh, I just saw this picture and I realize I do this ALL THE TIME. It's hard to shoot a shooter. To all the photographers and cinematographers who have tried to get me to take a picture or sit for an interview… and then I asked you to move a light or adjust a chair or some other directorial remark… I am sorr… I mean, I apologi… I mean, um… I wish I could stop but…. look, my bad, but it is what it is! #directher #helmer #shotcaller
In 2005, DuVernay took $6,000 and made her first film called Saturday Night Life where she worked as a director and writer. DuVernay then moved on to documentaries to save money and then fiction films where she could learn the trade while working. In 2007 she directed the short film, Compton in C Minor.
In 2008 DuVernay made her feature directorial debut with the hip-hop documentary, This Is the Life. In 2010, DuVernay directed three TV documentaries, a two-hour concert film TV One Night Only: Live from the Essence Music Festival and My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women and Hip Hop, on BET. On Thanksgiving that same year, TV One showed the 44-minute documentary Essence Presents: Faith Through the Storm.
In 2010 DuVernay began AFFRM, also know as, African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, her own company that distributes films made by or focusing on black people.
2011 – 2014
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I can't find words that express the experience of tonight. To watch SELMA at the Kennedy Center. Alongside Congressman John Lewis. With the National Symphony Orchestra playing my comrade Jason Moran's sensational film score live. Whew! Emotional and exceptional. Truly unforgettable night. Every moment was an honor. #grateful
In 2011, DuVernay’s first narrative feature film, I Will Follow, starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, was released theatrically. The film cost DuVernay $50,000 and was made in 14 days. In the summer of 2011, DuVernay began production on her second narrative feature film, Middle of Nowhere, a script she had written in 2003 but couldn’t get financed then. The film world-premiered on January 20, 2012, at Sundance Film Festival and was played in the U.S. dramatic competition. The film garnered the U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic for DuVernay and made her the first African-American woman to ever win the award. DuVernay also took home the 2012 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for her work on the film.
In 2013 DuVernay took her directing skills to the small screen directing the John Legend episode of the performance-and-interview series Hello Beautiful Interludes Live and directing an episode of the third season of Scandal.
DuVernay’s next film Selma, a $20 million budget film about Martin Luther King, Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson, and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march would be DuVernay’s most notable work as a director to date. The movie was released on December 25, 2014, to critical acclaim. The movie was nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song, but not Best Director at the Academy Awards, ultimately shunning DuVernay.
2015 – Present
In 2015, DuVernay executive produced and directed the CBS civil rights crime drama pilot For Justice starring Anika Noni Rose, but it wasn’t picked up.
That same year, DuVernay announced she would be creating and executive producing the drama series Queen Sugar. The series premiered in September 2016 on OWN to critical acclaim and positive reviews.
DuVernay’s next project was creating a film to debut at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s opening in September of 2016. She created August 28: A Day in the Life of a People. The film tells six significant events in African-American history that happened on the same date, August 28. The film stars Lupita Nyong’o, Don Cheadle, Regina King, David Oyelowo, Angela Bassett, Michael Ealy, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, André Holland and Glynn Turman.
In July 2016 13th, a film DuVernay directed opened the New York Film Festival. It was released on October 7, 2016, on Netflix and garnered acclaim from film critics.
In 2017, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Oscars, making DuVernay the first black woman to be nominated as a director by the academy in a featured category.
DuVernay also made waves when she was announced as the director for Jay-Z‘s music video “Family Feud,” featuring his wife, Beyonce. The video premiered in December 2017 on Tidal and features a slew of guest appearances by Michael B. Jordan, Thandie Newton, Trevante Rhodes, Jessica Chastain, Irene Bedard, Omari Hardwick, Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, America Ferrera, Aisha Hinds, Henry G. Sanders, Storm Reid, Susan Kelechi Watson, Brie Larson, Constance Wu, Niecy Nash, Rosario Dawson, Janet Mock, Rashida Jones, Mindy Kaling, and Blue Ivy Carter.
In February of 2016, DuVernay was offered to direct the film A Wrinkle in Time making her the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million and also the second overall woman director to do so ever. In March 2018 after two years since filming began, A Wrinkle In Time was set to be released, receiving highly anticipated critical acclaim.