Ava DuVernay 2020 Recipient

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Winner of BAFTA, Peabody, and Emmy Awards, Ava DuVernay is the director of the Oscar-winning civil rights drama Selma (2014), the Oscar-nominated social justice documentary 13TH (2016), and the Disney children’s adventure movie A Wrinkle in Time (2018), which made her the highest-grossing Black woman director in American box office history. In 2019, she created, wrote, produced, and directed the Emmy Award-winning limited series When They See Us, dramatizing the lives of the falsely accused and imprisoned young Black men known as the Central Park Five. She is currently producing the fifth season of her acclaimed dramatic television series Queen Sugar. Winner of the 2012 Sundance Best Director Prize for her second feature-length narrative film, Middle of Nowhere, DuVernay amplifies the work of Black artists, people of color, and women of all kinds through Array, the multi-platform arts collective she founded in 2010.

Selection Committee

The selection committee for the 27th Gish Prize was chaired by Jamie Bennett, Executive Director of ArtPlace America, and included Patricia Cruz, Executive Director of Harlem Stage; Joseph V. Melillo, Executive Producer Emeritus at BAM; Meredith Monk, winner of the 2017 Gish Prize; and Zeyba Rahman, Senior Program Officer of the Building Bridges Program of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.