"In my opinion, William Greaves is the leading Black documentary filmmaker in the United States today."
-- William Sloan, The Museum of Modern Art  


Director, producer and writer William Greaves began his career as a featured actor on Broadway and in motion pictures. His work behind the camera has earned him over 70 international film festival awards including an Emmy and four Emmy nominations. In 1980 he was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, and in the same year he was the recipient of a special homage at the first Black American Independent Film Festival in Paris.  In 1986, he received an Indy -- the special Life Achievement Award -- from the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers. He was recently honored by the National Black Theater and Film Festival with its first award for Lifelong Achievement in Film and for Contributions to Black Theater.

Greaves has produced and directed television, documentaries and feature films over the course of his career.  For two years, he served as executive producer and co-host of the pioneering network television series BLACK JOURNAL, for which he was awarded an Emmy.  His recent film, Ralph Bunche:  An American Odyssey, a 2 hour documentary which aired prime-time on PBS, was shown in competition at Sundance and has won a Gold Award from two International Film Festivals.  Among his other outstanding documentary films are FROM THESE ROOTS, an in-depth study of the Harlem Renaissance which has won over 20 film festival awards and has become a classic in African American history studies and IDA B. WELLS: A PASSION FOR JUSTICE, which  has won 19 film festival awards and was nominated for a 1990 NAACP Image Award.  Greaves also served as Executive Producer of Universal Picturesí BUSTINí LOOSE, starring Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson, and produced, wrote and directed three feature films -- SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM: TAKE ONE; THE MARIJUANA AFFAIR; and ALI, THE FIGHTER, starring Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.  Retrospectives of William Greaves work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

A long-time member of The Actors Studio in New York, William Greaves was honored by the Studio in 1980 as a recipient of its first Dusa award, together with Studio members Robert DeNiro, Jane Fonda, Marlon Brando, Arthur Penn, Sally Field, Rod Steiger, Al Pacino, Shelley Winters, Dustin Hoffman, Estelle Parsons, and Ellen Burstyn, among others.  From 1969 to 1982, he taught acting for film and television for the late Lee Strasberg at the Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York, and on occasion, substituted for Mr. Strasberg as moderator of the Actors Studio sessions.  He is currently a member of the Studio's board of directors.

Read a Film Quarterly article
on Greaves' work