About Roger Ross Williams


The first film that Roger Ross Williams directed, Music by Prudence, won the 2010 Academy Award® for documentary short subject. He is the first African American director to win an Academy Award. Williams went on to direct a wide variety of acclaimed films including the award-winning feature documentary God Loves Uganda, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for a 2014 Academy Award.


Roger Ross Williams, filmmakerWilliams’ latest film, Life, Animated, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival to enormous critical acclaim where he won the prestigious U.S. Documentary Directing Award. Life, Animated has since received countless accolades including over a dozen awards at film festivals around the world as well as DGA and PGA nominations and a 2017 Academy Award nomination.


Williams is currently working on several projects including feature documentaries for CNN Films and the BBC as well as a new feature about the legendary Apollo Theater, a series, several shorts and a narrative feature film. He is also developing a VR series called Traveling While Black for The New York Times and Executive Producing features for Netflix and other platforms.


Williams has been named by Variety to the New York Power List as a ‘digitally savvy, entrepreneurial trailblazer’ in the entertainment industry and serves on the board of Docubox Kenya, a documentary fund and mentorship program based in Nairobi that supports African filmmakers. Williams is also on the board of the Tribeca Film Festival, and the advisory boards of both the Full Frame and Sundance Film Festivals. He also serves on the board of Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa; the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art.


Williams is represented by William Morris Endeavor, serves on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and is chair of the diversity committee of the Documentary Branch.