Ava DuVernay's impressive achievements in the past decade serve as a reminder that persistence and hard work can get you far.
The 47-year-old filmmaker from Long Beach, California, reflected back on her decades-long list of illustrious achievements in a Twitter thread of gratitude.
DuVernay first ventured into journalism influenced by her CBS News internship and helped cover the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
But after becoming disillusioned with journalism, she went into PR work and eventually opened her own public relations firm – The DuVernay Agency (DVAPR), in 1999.
She made her first short film called, Saturday Night Life, based on her mother's experiences in Los Angeles. The 12-minute short found its way into Showtime's Black Filmmaker Showcase when it was broadcast on February 6, 2007.
The next opportunity would catapult her career.
"Reflecting on the decade. In 2010, I got a call from @BET."
"They heard I'd made an indie documentary about LA hip hop the year before. They offered me a doc on women in hip hop. It was my first paying directing job. I remember crying with joy. And hope."
Reflecting on the decade. In 2010, I got a call from @BET. They heard I’d made an indie documentary about LA hip… https://t.co/Zj1p6EF0uX— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577740033.0
The indie documentary that got BET's attention was This Is the Life, her 2008 feature directorial debut chronicling the history of LA's Good Life Cafe's arts movement in which she participated as an emcee in the hip hop duo Figures of Speech.
With momentum from BET, got a job from @Essence to direct the 2010 ESSENCE MUSIC FEST. Had no clue what I was doing… https://t.co/wUkN6KjTLa— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577740988.0
All along, I was taking a script I’d written to studios with the help of Gina + Reggie Bythewood. No one bit. Sta… https://t.co/9apyT3ofZH— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577742219.0
Used the small profits from I WILL FOLLOW to make the script that the studios had denied: MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Part… https://t.co/xZs2k1eVZp— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577743565.0
If there was a moment that changed things, it was getting into + winning at @sundancefest. I wish it didn’t take t… https://t.co/24jkkAPq6S— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577744316.0
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE was distributed by hand via a community model I founded called AFFRM. We launched with three ni… https://t.co/eRGZpV1Vpm— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577746208.0
After winning Best Director at Sundance, my phone rang 3 times. No movies. But three opportunities that were a bi… https://t.co/zxtK5IxTqG— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577746597.0
The second was given to me by the legend @shondarhimes and the talented director @tomverica. I got to direct an epi… https://t.co/TDxXTHu4i1— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577746991.0
The third post-Sundance gig came from the good folks at @ESPN Films. A documentary for their women-centric spin-off… https://t.co/1jnySgPzrB— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577747487.0
Making Selma was inspired by her summer vacations to her father's childhood home.
He lived near Selma, Alabama, and witnessed the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches.
The film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song, but not for Best Director. On her omission, DuVernay expressed she was more disappointed over the fact that actor David Oyelowo, who portrayed King, did not receive a nomination for her performance in the film.
The next film came because my friend David Oyelowo wanted to play Dr. King. He convinced the producers to try me… https://t.co/4xVu4CfGuO— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577748338.0
After SELMA, I was trying to figure out my next move and spent some lovely time making a series of three commercial… https://t.co/gZy1j0v2DP— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577748758.0
Then, I got to give the experience I had directing SCANDAL to other women who the industry was not calling.… https://t.co/FDhns4UmKY— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577749552.0
While making QUEEN SUGAR, I was also making a secret documentary with @Netflix. It was never announced. No one kn… https://t.co/YRzHY3OkJA— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577750609.0
Although Disney's A Wrinkle In Time was not a breakout success at the box office, it was an important milestone for DuVernay.
She became the first black American woman to direct a film that grossed at least $100 million, domestically.
She was also the first black American woman to helm a live-action feature film with a production and marketing budget of $150 million and $250 million.
Then, Disney invited me onto A WRINKLE IN TIME. I jumped at the chance to work on a film with a black girl saving t… https://t.co/oHVIL6GiB4— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577751876.0
The Smithsonian invited me to create a film installation for the National Museum of African-American History and Cu… https://t.co/vFNayZmxee— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577752613.0
I made a short film with Jay-Z for his 4:44 album called FAMILY FEUD. Called many pals to appear in this project,… https://t.co/noFvJRqOqW— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577753500.0
She received massive critical acclaim for creating, co-writing and directing Netflix's When They See Us.
The project is about the wrongfully convicted teenagers called the Central Park Five—now known as the Exonerated 5— surrounding 1989's Central Park Jogger Case.
The miniseries was streamed by over 23 million viewers in its first month of release and earned 16 Emmy nominations.
And over the past four years, I worked on the story of 5 boys of color and their families. People who had been demo… https://t.co/9FkX23ZAmF— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577754468.0
So many beautiful professional moments over the past decade. A Barbie doll. Being a part of the Cannes jury.… https://t.co/uK9flauNTr— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577754771.0
DuVernay closed out her thread, and 2019, by expressing much gratitude for all the supportive and inspiring people who have come into her life.
Thanks to anyone who rooted for me this decade. Who encouraged me. Who worked by my side as crew, exec or cast. Who… https://t.co/Txh9N9TS4u— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1577755025.0
People gave the visionary much praise and shared how they have been inspired by her body of work.
@ava @BET Your art is a gift to this world, but more than that, the integrity and compassion you lead with in this… https://t.co/rQ0VBhLvHU— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈) 1577757451.0
@ava @BET So glad you're here! We are all better because of your films. Thank you!— the 13th person (@the 13th person) 1577740126.0
@ava @BET Now look at you. I’m sitting here sitting through edits in my book and talking about how inspiring your w… https://t.co/ETzV1E2JFo— Frederick Joseph (@Frederick Joseph) 1577740244.0
@ava @BET wow - I was obsessed with this BET doc when it dropped! i actually still reference in my work. never knew it was you! ✨😍— Brooklyn White (@Brooklyn White) 1577754022.0
@ava @BET More power to you, Ava. Thank you for pushing boundaries and inspiring me with your films. Best wishes for the decade ahead.— Aaron Vallely (@Aaron Vallely) 1577750894.0
@ava @BET Dear Ava: Because of you, so many have risen. Thank you 🙏🏽— Esmeralda Bermudez (@Esmeralda Bermudez) 1577773115.0
@ava @BET Big congrats on all your work and thanks for giving back, passing the torch and inspiring us all my sista… https://t.co/fm9VvysVsy— MC Debbie D (@MC Debbie D) 1577799911.0
@ava @BET Thank you for all of your revolutionary work!— Mαrωα 🥀 (@Mαrωα 🥀) 1577767240.0
@ava @BET Thank you for the inspiration and motivation to keep going. Thank you 🙏🏽 you see us in our struggle to ke… https://t.co/5AuXxxHYZE— Karen Maria Alston (@Karen Maria Alston) 1577768798.0
@ava @BET Thank you for your gifts and for paving the way. I remember when my mom bought me the Ava doll on the clo… https://t.co/7bno6H6i8N— Destiny Faith (@Destiny Faith) 1577780583.0
@ava @BET THANK YOU for making a model for my daughter @thekayanova (& others) to follow— ғʀɪᴛᴢɪsᴍ (@ғʀɪᴛᴢɪsᴍ) 1577800333.0
DuVernay announced that she and Tom King will co-write New Gods for the DC Extended Universe, and it is aimed to be released some time in 2022.
With more projects on the horizon, the inspirational filmmaker is showing no signs of slowing down.
Here's to another decade of successes.