Roger Ross Williams

Roger Ross Williams

Many first became familiar with filmmaker Roger Ross Williams when he won an Academy Award in 2010 for his documentary short "Music by Prudence" (2010), making him the first African American to win an Oscar for directing and producing a feature or short. Born in South Carolina, Williams' family struggled to pay bills as his mother worked long hours as a housekeeper. Williams still toiled hard to attended college however, first at Northampton Community College and later at NYU, and by 1995 he had broken into the film industry, producing segments for TV specials like People Magazine's "People Yearbook '95" (CBS, 1995). Williams worked in television for several years while he honed his skills and gathered his resources, finally directing his first documentary "New York Underground" (Discovery Times Channel, 2003) in 2003. "Music by Prudence" came a few years later, quickly followed by his next documentary short "God Loves Uganda" (2013), which examined the attempts by Christian evangelicals to indoctrinate the people of Uganda. Two years later, he directed the shorts "Gospel of Intolerance" (2015) and "Blackface" (2015), and by 2016, Williams was in the Awards spotlight again, this time for his documentary feature "Life, Animated" (2016).