Women’s History Month: Ava DuVernay

March is Women’s History Month and was started in 1981 as “Women’s History Week.” It later officially became a month long celebration in 1995. Join Vibin’ Courtside during the entire month of March as we celebrate just a few of the women who are currently doing the dang thing!

Brilliance is hard to come by. Creating brilliance on a budget is even tougher. The average marketing budget for some Hollywood movies is upwards of $20 million. Ava DuVernay has had combined budget of $20,250,000 for her three feature films: I Will Follow, Middle of Nowhere, and Selma. Her first feature film I Will Follow was filmed in 15 days for under $50,000. It garnered praises from the late Roger Ebert. Her second film Middle of Nowhere earned her Best Director at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, making her the first Black woman to win the award. It had a budget of only $200,000. But it was her third film Selma with a budget of $20 million and filmed in 30 days that really brought DuVernay’s brilliance to the national spotlight. She became the first Black woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globes, and the film received a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards making her the first Black woman to direct a picture for the category.

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

In her relatively short career, DuVernay has already been nominated for two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, five Critics Choice Awards, eight NAACP Image Awards and five Independent Spirit Awards. This is list is sure to grow as opportunities keeps knocking at Ava DuVernay’s door. DuVernay’s next project is another venture with Selma producer and star, Oprah. DuVernay will write, direct and executive produce an adaptation of Natalie Basziles novel Queen Sugar for Oprah’s network OWN.

Before she was pulling brilliance of her own from tight budgets, DuVernay was a successful publicist and marketer who ran her own firm DVA Media + Marketing. Her firm provided services for many directors such as Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood. In 2011, DuVernay founded the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement or AFFRM (pronounced as ‘affirm’). AAFRM is dedicated to distributing Black independent films.

Aside from her three acclaimed major films, DuVernay has also directed several documentaries and short-films. Check out the beautiful short-film titled “The Door” for which DuVernay teamed up with Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Adepero Oduye and Goapele to shoot for Miu Miu.




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