Marco Williams

Arts Professor

Photo of Arts Professor Marco Williams

Marco Williams is an award-winning documentary and nominated fiction film director.

Williams’ directing credits include: The Undocumented (2013), Inside the New Black Panthers (2008), Banished (2007), Freedom Summer (2006), I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education (2004), MLK Boulevard: The Concrete Dream (2003), Two Towns of Jasper (2002), Making Peace; Rebuilding our Communities (1995), The Pursuit of Happiness: With Arianna Huffington (1994), Without A Pass (1992), In Search of Our Fathers (1991), From Harlem To Harvard (1982).

Executive Producer Credits: A Son’s Sacrifice (2007), Bronx Princess (2009), More Than a Month (2012), Bible Quiz (2013).

The Undocumented, is a PBS broadcast/Independent Lens, feature length cinema verite documentary that exposes a little known consequence of United States immigration policy. Since 1998 more than 2000 dead bodies and skeletal remains of illegal border crossers have been found in the desert in southern Arizona. The film tells the story of Markos Hernandez an undocumented Mexican living and working in Chicago.  Marcos came to the United States, to look for his father Francisco who disappeared in the Sonora Desert trying to enter into the United States undocumented. Chronicled over the course of Arizona’s deadly summer months, the film weaves Marcos’ search for his father with the efforts of humanitarians and Border Patrol agents who fight to prevent migrant deaths, medical investigators and the Mexican Consulate who work to identify dead border crossers, and Mexicans who struggle to accept the loss of a family member.

Banished ( has been selected to several film festivals, including the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition, the Pan African Film Festival, True/False, the Miami International Film Festival, and Full Frame Documentary film Festival. It also enjoyed its broadcast premiere in February 2008 on the award winning PBS program, Independent Lens. The film received a production grant from the Ford Foundation, the Independent Television Service, The National Black Programming Consortium, as well as The Independent Feature Project’s Anthony Radziwill Documentary Production Grant.

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. (

Marco’s film awards include: Banished (2007) the Knight Grand Jury Prize for Documentary Features at the Miami International Film Festival and the Full Frame Documentary Festival Spectrum Award. Freedom Summer (2006), Emmy Award for the series: Ten Days that Unexpectedly Changed America; I Sit Where I Want, the recipient of the 2005 Beacon Award; MLK Boulevard: The Concrete Dream; The National Association of Black Journalists First Place Salute to Excellence Award 2004. His film Two Towns of Jasper 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.

Williams’ film, In Search of Our Fathers is an award winning and nationally and internationally acclaimed documentary. The film follows the filmmaker’s seven-year effort to learn about and to meet his father for the first time. It is a film about the search for identity and the affirmation of the family. It was awarded The Silver Apple at the National Educational Film and Video Festival.

The film was broadcast on the PBS program “Frontline”. It was exhibited at festivals throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. It was featured in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 1996 “Black Male Exhibition, the 1993 Whitney Biennial, the Panorama section of the 1993 Berlin International Film Festival, the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, Cinema Du Reel, the Toronto Film Festival, the Margaret Mead Film Festival, and the Bombay International Film Festival.

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.


Filmmaking: writing, directing, documentary production, Senior Colloquium


BA, Harvard University; MA UCLA; MFA, UCLA