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Northwestern School of Communication
Marco Williams

An award-winning documentary film director, Marco Williams’ credits include: Tell Them We are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2017), The Black Fives (2014), 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 Spiritual Deficit and The American Dream (1994), Without a Pass (1992) In Search of Our Fathers (1991), From Harlem to Harvard (1982).

Tell Them We are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, explores the pivotal role historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played in American history, culture, and national identity. The Black Fives is a short video that accompanies an exhibition at The New York Historical Society about the pioneering history of the African-American basketball teams that existed in New York City and elsewhere from the early 1900s through 1950, the year the National Basketball Association became racially integrated. The Undocumented, a PBS broadcast/Independent Lens feature length cinema verite documentary, exposes a little known consequence of United States immigration policy. The film debuted at The Full Frame Film Festival. It received an Honorable Mention, The Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights. Banished premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition. It won awards at the Pan African Film Festival, 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.

Freedom Summer, 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. Two Towns of Jasper, the 2004 George Foster Peabody Awardand the 2004 Alfred I duPont Silver Baton. It is the winner of the 2002 Pan African Film FestivalOutstanding 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 Search of Our Fathers 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. Additional awards include Guggenheim Fellowship, the “Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill, a George Foster Peabody Award, the Beacon Award, the Alfred I du Pont Silver Baton, the Pan African Film Festival Outstanding Documentary Award, the Full Frame Documentary Festival Spectrum Award, and the National Association of Black Journalists First Place Salute to Excellence Award. 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. Before joining NU, he was a professor at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts where he taught in the Undergraduate Department of Film and Television.


  • MFA Afro-American Studies, UCLA
  • MFA Producer’s Program, UCLA
  • BA Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University