Courtesy of Justin Bettman/UTA
In 2010, Williams became the first African American director to win an Academy Award for his documentary short film “Music by Prudence.” The director, producer and writer was nominated for a second Oscar in 2017 for his documentary “Life, Animated,” which ultimately collected two News & Documentary Emmy Awards. In 2020, Williams won his third Emmy for the documentary “The Apollo.”
Williams is currently in pre-production on his first scripted feature “Cassandro,” starring Gael García Bernal. The film, about an openly gay, cross-dressing Lucha Libre wrestler is produced by Bernal and Diego Luna’s production company La Corriente Del Golfo. Most recently, Williams and his One Story Up banner produced the HBO adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bestseller “Between the World and Me.”
The filmmaker founded One Story Up with Emmy-winning producer Geoff Martz in 2019; the company has produced a variety of projects, including Netflix’s “The Innocence Files” (of which Williams directed the first three hours). The production company has a number of projects in the works, including an untitled feature documentary about civil rights lawyer Ben Crump for Netflix, a short film series with Topic & First Look Media, and a documentary feature on TLC for A&E. Williams is also set to direct and produce Ibram X. Kendis’ “Stamped From the Beginning,” as well as its counterpart “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You” for Netflix, all under the production banner.
Williams has also been on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors representing the documentary branch since 2016 and also serves as chair of the documentary diversity committee.
Williams will continue to be represented by Andre Des Rochers of Granderson Des Rochers and FRANK PR.
Variety's Angelique Jackson contributed to this post.