Writer, director and producer Marco Williams has tackled issues around race, identity and migration in his award-winning films. Born in 1956 he is known for Two Towns of Jasper (2002), Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town in America (2006) and In Search of Our Fathers (1992). He is currently a documentary filmmaker and professor of film production at New York University‘s Tisch School of the Arts. His films have received several awards, including the Gotham Documentary Achievement Award for Two Towns of Jasper and he has been nominated three times for the Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize.
Williams is currently directing and producing The Undocumented a feature length documentary addressing the deaths of illegal border crossers in Arizona’s border region.
Banished (2007), directed and produced by Williams, tells the story of three American communities where 100 years ago white residents forced thousands of black families to flee their homes. The film documents black descendants as they return to confront their shocking histories. The film was awarded the Knight Grand Jury Prize for Documentary Features at the Miami International Film Festival and the Full Frame Documentary Festival Spectrum Award.
Williams’ film Freedom Summer (2006), won a primetime Emmy Award for the series: Ten Days that Unexpectedly Changed America. Williams’ film Two Towns of Jasper (co-directed by Whitney Dow) received the 2004 George Foster Peabody Award and the 2004 Alfred I duPont Silver Baton. It is the winner of the 2002 Pan African Film Festival Outstanding Documentary Award, the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival Silver Award for Best International Documentary (2002); it is also the recipient of the 2002 DoubleTake/Full Frame grand prize: The Center For Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award, and the winner of the 2002 Independent Feature Project Third Annual Anthony Radziwill Documentary Achievement Award. Two Towns of Jasper was broadcast on POV on PBS, the film and the directors were featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nightline with Ted Koppel, and the film was the catalyst for a live town hall meeting—“America in Black and White”, anchored by Ted Koppel.
In 1994, Williams and six other young filmmakers, including P.J. Pesce and Academy Award nominee Bernard Joffa (the 1990 Best Live Action Short ‘Senzeni Na?’), were featured in movie journalist Billy Frolick’s book called ‘What I Really Want to Do Is Direct: Seven Film School Graduates Go to Hollywood’. The book followed the lives of seven young, would-be directors over three years as they struggled with the ups-and-downs of the Hollywood world.
Marco is a nominated fiction film director as well. His dramatic short, “Without a Pass” was nominated for three Cableace Awards including Best Director of a Theatrical Special and Best Theatrical Special. It premiered on Showtime. Williams received a B.A. from Harvard University, in Visual and Environmental Studies. He received a Master of Arts degree from UCLA in Afro-American Studies and a Master of Fine Arts also from UCLA in their Producer’s Program. He is the recipient of the Institute of American Cultures Research Grant (1998 & 1990), a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, (1987) and a Creative Artists Program grant (1984).
In addition to Marco’s film work, he has served on numerous documentary jurys from Sundance to Full Frame, to the Editorial Commission for PBS’ flagship strand POV. His films have received several awards, including the Gotham Documentary Achievement Award for Two Towns of Jasper and he has been nominated three times for the Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize.Share: