EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams. Williams won the best director prize for U.S. documentaries at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for Life, Animated. The film, which is being released domestically by The Orchard on July 1, has its NY premiere this coming Monday. 

The Julie Goldman-produced film has also been awarded the audience award at several other film festivals. Life, Animated explores the story of Owen Suskind, the autistic son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind, and his use of Disney dialogue, song and characters to communicate and relate to a world he has trouble understanding. 

Williams was the first African American director to win an Oscar with his debut 2010 documentary short, Music By PrudenceHis previous work includes The Man Without A Mask following the story of gay Mexican wrestling star Cassandro, the viral short film, Blackface for CNN, and his first feature documentary, God Loves Uganda, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was short-listed for an Academy Award.

Williams currently has several projects in development including Traveling While Black, an interactive project which will feature a virtual reality component designed by renowned VR artist, Oscar Raby. Additionally, he is working on a feature doc about the prison industrial complex for The Why? Foundation and CNN Films, which will be broadcast in over 50 countries, reaching a potential audience of over 500 million around the world.

Williams was previously an acclaimed television journalist and producer for over 15 years for outlets including, ABC News, CNN, Comedy Central, NBC News, PBS and Sundance Channel. Williams also serves on the Alumni Advisory Board of the Sundance Institute and mentors filmmakers from the developing world and under-represented communities on how to channel personal adversity into their art.