Born in August 24, 1972 in Long Beach, California, Ava DuVernay worked in film publicity and marketing, and established her own agency, before deciding to become a filmmaker. She helmed hip-hop documentaries and then released two feature films: I Will Follow (2010) and Middle of Nowhere (2012). She directed the Oscar-nominated historical drama Selma, which follows a portion of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life during an urgent call for voting rights. DuVernay became the first African-American female director to receive a Golden Globe nomination and have a film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. In 2016, she directed 13th, a documentary about the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison system, which received an Oscar nomination for feature documentary. Ava Marie DuVernay Biography and Profile.