Williams is the first African American Director to win an Oscar with his short film Music by Prudence. His films include Life, Animated, which was nominated for an Academy Award and won three Emmys including the award for Best Documentary and won the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award. He also directed God Loves Uganda, which was shortlisted for an Oscar; The Apollo, which won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Documentary; Traveling While Black, which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy and won a Webby Award; and American Jail.
Williams is also in pre-production on his first scripted feature, Cassandro, about an openly gay, cross-dressing, Lucha Libre wrestler. The film, which Deadline first told you about, will star Gael Garcia Bernal, and is produced by Bernal and Diego Luna’s production company La Corriente Del Golfo.
In 2019, Williams founded the production company One Story Up along with Emmy Award-winning producer Geoff Martz, which has produced such projects as Netflix’s The Innocence Files, which Williams directed the first three hours of, and the screen adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bestseller, Between the World and Me, for HBO. Currently in development for One Story Up: an untitled Netflix feature documentary about civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, a short film series with Topic and First Look Media, as well as a doc feature on music group TLC for A&E, among other titles. Williams will also direct and produce Ibram X. Kendis’ Stamped from the Beginning, as well as its counterpart Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You for Netflix, under One Story Up.
Since 2016, Williams has been on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences representing the Documentary Branch and is also Chair of the Documentary Diversity Committee. He serves on the advisory board of the Full Frame Film Festival, and the boards of Docubox Kenya, None On Record, and the Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa.
Williams will continue to be represented by Andre Des Rochers of Granderson Des Rochers.
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