The first film that Roger Ross Williams directed was Music by Prudence, which won the 2010 Academy Award® for documentary short subject. He is the first African American director to win an Academy Award. Williams next directed the feature documentary God Loves Uganda, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for a 2014 Academy Award.
Williams is currently working on several projects including a feature documentary about the prison industrial complex for CNN Films and the BBC and a feature documentary about the legendary Apollo Theater. He is developing a VR series based on his personal story called Traveling While Black for The New York Times. He is also the chief storyteller for Johnnie Walker whisky where he curates a series of short documentaries.
His latest film Life, Animated premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival to enormous critical acclaim where Williams won the prestigious U.S. Documentary Directing Award. Life, Animated has received countless accolades including over a dozen awards at film festivals around the world, DGA and PGA nominations, and was most recently nominated for the 2017 Academy Awards.
Williams serves on the board of Docubox Kenya, a documentary fund and mentorship program based in Nairobi that supports African filmmakers. Recently, Williams became the trustee of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa; the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art.
Williams serves on the Alumni advisory board of the Sundance Institute and the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.