Ava DuVernay was born in Long Beach, California to Darlene Maye, an educator, and Murray Maye, a businessman, from Hayneville, Alabama, a small town between Montgomery and Selma, Alabama. Ms. DuVernay is the oldest of the five children and grew up in Lynwood and Compton, California. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she double-majored in English and African-American studies.
Ms. DuVernay is a director, screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay won the Best Director Prize for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, becoming the first African-American woman to win the award. Ms. DuVernay directed the highly acclaimed motion picture, Selma, about the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ms. DuVernay is the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film also was nominated for the Best Original Song.