Ava DuVernay, an award-winning writer, producer, director and distributor of independent films, was recently inducted into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. as an honorary member. Presiding over the formal induction was Alpha Kappa Alpha’s International President Attorney Carolyn House Stewart.
In making the announcement, Stewart explained that an honorary membership is the highest membership category the Sorority presents. “Those who are inducted,” she said, “represent the highest standards of character, courage and womanhood. Through her creativity, trailblazing work in film, and her passion towards her craft, Ava DuVernay embodies the Alpha Kappa Alpha ideal. Most of all, through her work, she serves the worldwide community. This commitment is captured in Alpha Kappa Alpha’s credo: ‘Providing service to all mankind.’” Stewart stressed that service is the core mission upon which the Sorority was founded in 1908.
DuVernay’s achievements make her an ideal candidate for honorary membership. She has gained worldwide acclaim as a director, for which she has earned the highest industry awards. She was the winner of the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, was honored with the 2013 John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award and presented the Tribeca Film Institute 2013 Affinity Award for her second feature film “Middle of Nowhere.”
Currently, she is in production on the upcoming feature film SELMA, which chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. DuVernay is directing the film from her screenplay, with Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt’s Academy Award winning company Plan B serving as producers. The film will debut on December 25, 2014.
DuVernay made her directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed 2008 hip hop documentary, “This is The Life.” Winner of Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle, the film debuted on Showtime in April 2009. In 2010, she wrote, produced and directed her first narrative feature, “I Will Follow”, which won high praise from the late film critic Roger Ebert.
Also included in her body of directorial work are network documentaries “Venus Vs” for ESPN and “My Mic Sounds Nice” for BET, and “Faith Through The Storm” for TV One. In 2013, she directed an episode of ABC’s top-rated drama series, SCANDAL. She’s also directed films for fashion and beauty giants Prada and Fashion Fair.
Prior to becoming an industry-acclaimed director, DuVernay was an award-winning film marketer and publicist for more than 14 years. Her firm DVA Media + Marketing provided strategy and execution for more than 120 film and television campaigns. Among the films she publicized and marketed included those directed by icons Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann and Bill Condon.
A graduate of UCLA, DuVernay is the founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement.
“We are honored and proud to have Ava DuVernay join our illustrious sisterhood,” said Stewart. “Her devotion to directing award-winning films, which portray positive images and convey uplifting messages, embodies the qualities of the Alpha Kappa Alpha woman. She will make a great addition to our Sorority and we look forward to supporting and embracing her.”