Roger Ross Williams

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Roger Ross Williams
Roger Ross Williams.jpg
Born (1970-09-16) September 16, 1970 (age 49)
OccupationFilm director
Screenwriter
Film producer
Years active1995–present

Roger Ross Williams (born September 16, 1970) is an award-winning director, producer and writer and the first African American director to win an Oscar, with his short film Music by Prudence.

Williams has directed a number of acclaimed films including Life, Animated, which won the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, was nominated for an Academy Award[1] and won three Emmys in 2018, including the award for Best Documentary. He also directed God Loves Uganda, which was shortlisted for an Academy Award and American Jail, which examined the U.S. prison system and premiered on CNN. Williams’ directed Traveling While Black, a VR documentary made for Facebook’s Oculus, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. His most recent film, The Apollo, a documentary about Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, was the opening night film of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and he is currently in pre-production on his first narrative feature film for Amazon Studios.

His production company, One Story Up, is producing a variety of projects including two limited documentary series for Netflix.

Since 2016, Williams has been on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, serving as chair of the Documentary Branch and the documentary Diversity Committee. Williams serves on the Alumni Advisory Board of the Sundance Institute, the Advisory Board of Full Frame Festival, and the boards of the Tribeca Film Institute, Docubox Kenya, None On Record and the Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa. He resides in New York and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Life and career[edit]

Williams is the first African American director to win an Academy Award in his category of Documentary Shorts, and the first ever African American director to win an Academy Award for directing and producing a film, short or feature. He is a member of a Gullah family from South Carolina, and has lived and worked in New York City for the past twenty-five years. Williams attended Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and New York University in New York City.

Williams began his career producing political satire for Comedy Central and Michael Moore’s Emmy Award-winning series TV Nation. He has also produced and directed numerous primetime specials for PBS, ABC, CBS, Sundance Channel and New York Times Television. He has won numerous awards for his TV work including a NAMIC Vision Award and the National Headliner for Best Human Interest Feature documentary.

He started working in 1985 and has since worked for ABC News, NBC News, MSNBC, BBC, CNN and has produced work for Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, VH1 He has directed prime-time reality (for ABC and CBS) and produced a documentary series for Discovery Networks and a lifestyle series: Sheila Bridges Designer Living, for Scripps Networks.

Williams has several projects in development including a transmedia project with PBS called Traveling While Black, a feature documentary about the prison industrial complex for CNN Films and the BBC and a feature documentary about the legendary Apollo Theater.[2]

Currently Williams serves on the board of Docubox Kenya, a documentary fund and mentorship program based in Nairobi that supports African filmmakers. Williams serves on the alumni advisor board of None On Record, the alumni advisory board of the Sundance Institute, and the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Recently, Williams became the trustee of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa; the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art.[3] He splits his time between upstate New York and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Filmography[edit]

Director[edit]

  • 1997: Discovered At Sundance (TV)
  • 2000: Reagan: A Life In Pictures (TV)
  • 2001: Time (TV)
  • 2001: Challenge America With Erin Brockovich (TV)
  • 2002: Secret Son (TV)
  • 2003: Power, Privilege & Justice (TV)
  • 2003: Boys Will Be Girls (TV)
  • 2003: First Off The Tee (TV)
  • 2003: New York Underground (TV)
  • 2004: The Lives They Lived (TV)
  • 2004: Moroccan Style (TV)
  • 2005: Sheila Bridges Designer Living: Morocco Special (TV) and Sheila Bridges Designer Living
  • 2006: Amazing Families (TV)
  • 2010: Undercover Boss (TV, 1 episode: 7-Eleven)
  • 2010: Music by Prudence
  • 2013: God Loves Uganda
  • 2014: Tutu: The Essence of Being Human
  • 2015: Gospel of Intolerance
  • 2015: Blackface
  • 2016: Life, Animated
  • 2018: American Jail

Producer[edit]

  • 1995: People Yearbook '95 (TV) (segment producer)
  • 1996: Sex, Drugs and Consequences (TV) (producer)
  • 1997: TV Nation: Volume One (segment producer)
  • 2000: Reagan: A Life In Pictures (TV) (producer)
  • 2001: Time (TV) (producer)
  • 2002: Secret Son (TV) (producer)
  • 2002: Life 360 (segment producer) (1 episode:Telling the Children) (segment producer)
  • 2003: Power, Privilege & Justice (TV) (producer)
  • 2003: First Off The Tee (TV) (producer)
  • 2003: New York Underground (TV) (producer)
  • 2004: The Lives They Lived (TV) (producer)
  • 2004: Moroccan Style (TV) (producer)
  • 2004 - 2005: Sheila Bridges Designer Living (series supervising producer)
  • 2006: Amazing Families (TV) (producer)
  • 2007: Alone No Love (co-producer)
  • 2007: Yearbook (TV) (series producer)
  • 2010: Music by Prudence (producer)
  • 2013: God Loves Uganda (producer)
  • 2014: Tutu: The Essence of Being Human (producer)
  • 2016: Life, Animated

Screenwriter[edit]

  • 2000: Reagan: A Life In Pictures (TV)
  • 2003: Power, Privilege & Justice (TV)
  • 2003: First Off The Tee (TV)
  • 2003: New York Underground (TV)
  • 2004: The Lives They Lived (TV)
  • 2004: Moroccan Style (TV)
  • 2005: Sheila Bridges Designer Living: Morocco Special (TV)
  • 2006: Amazing Families (TV)

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2017: VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF NOMINEES". oscar.go.com. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  2. ^ Mohr, Ian. "Director benefits from Lee Daniels' busy schedule". Pagesix.com. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  3. ^ "2018 Sundance Screenwriters Intensive includes Iyabo Boyd & Roger Ross Williams/David Teague". ioncinema.com. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  4. ^ a b Desk, BWW News. "Oscar Winning 'Music By Prudence' Premieres on HBO2, 5/12".
  5. ^ "Photos Grouped by Event: 82nd Academy Awards Telecast" (Press release). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. March 7, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  6. ^ Sergio. "Oscar Winning Filmmaker Roger Ross Williams Currently Working on New Documentary About Autism - IndieWire". Archived from the original on 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2015-05-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ A, Project. "ashland independent film festival". ashland independent film festival.
  9. ^ "DIFF Filmmaker Award Winners - Dallas Film Society". Archived from the original on 2015-06-12.
  10. ^ "Film Engels - God Loves Uganda - Movies that Matter Film Festival". www.moviesthatmatter.nl.
  11. ^ "About the film – Life Animated".

External links[edit]