Director Ava DuVernay will serve as the ambassador for the Urban World Film Festival, founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes, this year alongside one of Hollywood’s most sought out actors, David Oyelowo (Selma).  The festival will take place from September 21 – 25 in New York City, and the films will be hosted by AMC Empire 42 Street.

“It’s an absolute honor to have festival alumni Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo serve as co-ambassadors for Urbanworld’s 20th Anniversary Film Festival.  Ava has a long and layered history with Urbanworld evolving from her tenure as festival publicist in the early years to her directorial debut with her first short film, to showcasing various narrative and documentary projects at the festival, to being the award-winning and glass shattering filmmaker she is today.  David joined the Urbanworld family when attending to support Middle of Nowhere and then returned for a First Look Clips and Conversation event with Ava to launch Selma.  His extraordinary caliber of artistry consistently illustrated in his body of work over the years, in both studio and independent films, reflects the quality of storytelling that Urbanworld seeks to inspire in all of the filmmakers showcased at Urbanworld.” –  Gabrielle Glore, Festival Director & Head of Programming, Urbanworld Film Festival

DuVernay needs no introduction on this platform; however, she began her career as a publicist and transitioned into filmmaking with her debut feature, I Will Follow in 2010.  Since then, she has gone on to break countless barriers.  In 2012, DuVernay won the Best Director Prize at Sundance for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere and became the first African American woman to ever win this award. She also became the first African American woman director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2014 for her work on Selma, and was the first African American woman to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, also for her work on Selma.  Her next project, The 13th, a documentary revolving around mass incarceration, can be seen on October 7th at the 54th New York Film Festival.

“I am honored to be one of this year’s Urbanworld ambassadors for the festival’s 20th anniversary, joining my friend David Oyelowo. I have always had a special relationship with Urbanworld, back to my days as a festival publicist to previewing my earlier films and now as an ambassador. Congratulations to Gabrielle Glore and the Urbanworld team on 20 dynamic years of providing a great platform for filmmakers of color to showcase their projects.” – Ava DuVernay

Urbanworld Film Festival will take place on September 21 – 25 – for more information on the festival and the lineup, please click HERE.