GREAVES is executive producer/director and writer of RALPH BUNCHE:
AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY, a recently completed documentary on the
life and times of the world-renown African-American Nobel Peace
Prize Winner and United Nations statesman, who not only pioneered
the organization's peace-keeping and conflict resolution strategies,
but was also one of the leading advocates of the UN's Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. The 2-hour documentary is narrated
by Oscar winner Sidney Poitier.
Greaves left an acting career as a featured actor on
Broadway, in television, and in films, to work behind the camera
on the production staff of The National Film Board of Canada.
An independent filmmaker based in New York, Greaves has produced
more than 200 documentary films, seven of which have earned
more than seventy international film festival awards, an Emmy,
and four Emmy nominations. In 1980 he was inducted into the
Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and was the recipient of a special
"homage" at the first Black American Independent Film Festival
in Paris that same year. Greaves is also the recipient of an
"Indy," the Special Life Achievement Award of the Association
of Independent Video and Filmmakers, a nationwide organization.
For two years he was executive producer and co-host of the ground-breaking
public affairs network television series BLACK
JOURNAL, which won an Emmy for outstanding public affairs
television programming. His films have been narrated and/or
hosted by such well-known actors and performers as Bill Cosby,
Sidney Poitier, Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn, Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte,
Gil Noble, Al Freeman Jr., Ricardo Montalban, Ossie Davis, Rita
Moreno, Brock Peters and Marie Osmond.
More recently, William Greaves produced, directed and wrote
IDA B. WELLS: A PASSION FOR JUSTICE,
featuring Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, for the PBS television
series THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.
The film has received more than 20 film festival awards. Among
the many other outstanding films his company has produced is
the documentary IN THE COMPANY OF MEN,
winner of 8 film festival awards, and FROM
THESE ROOTS, a social, political and cultural exploration
of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. "ROOTS" has won twenty-two
film festival awards and is recognized as a classic in African-American
history studies. It has aired on PBS and NBC.
In addition to making documen-taries, Greaves was executive
producer for Universal Pictures' hit motion picture BUSTIN'
LOOSE, starring Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson. He also
produced, wrote, and directed three other feature films: ALI,
THE FIGHTER, starring Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, THE
MARIJUANA AFFAIR, starring Calvin Lockhart and Ingrid
Wang, and the recently rediscovered and highly-acclaimed avant-garde
feature, SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM: TAKE ONE.
The latter has been shown at numerous festivals including Sundance,
Munich, San Sebastian, Sydney, Paris, San Turino, Graz, Goteberg,
Denver, the Hamptons International Film Festival and, more recently,
the Lake Placid Film Festival.
Greaves' commitment to chronicling the lives and concerns of
African Americans on film has been demonstrated throughout his
career. Prominent among such works are THE
FIRST WORLD FESTIVAL OF NEGRO ARTS, a documentary that
records the historical gathering in Dakar, Senegal of major
Black artists and intellectuals from the African Diaspora; BOOKER
T. WASHINGTON: THE LIFE AND LEGACY, aired on Westinghouse
Television; FREDERICK DOUGLASS: AN AMERICAN
LIFE, aired on the Central Educational Network; BLACK
POWER IN AMERICA: MYTH OR REALITY?, aired on PBS; and
STILL A BROTHER INSIDE THE NEGRO MIDDLE
CLASS, which aired on the National Educational Television
Network and won the Blue Ribbon Award at the American Film Festival,
and was nominated for an Emmy. The latter two documentaries
profiled successful African Americans working in professions
which, historically, had not been associated with African Americans.
For the stage, Greaves directed, as well as co-produced with
Paul Robeson, Jr. and Joseph Papp, the celebration of Paul Robeson's
90th birthday at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway in 1988. The
multimedia theatrical event featured a host of celebrities,
including Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier, Lena Horne, Christopher
Reeve, Ossie Davis, Christopher Plummer, Toni Morrison, Max
Roach, and other notables, and The Dance Theatre of Harlem
Greaves began his career as a professional actor, playing the
lead in the Shubert Production, A YOUNG
AMERICAN. Between 1946 and 1952 he was a featured actor
on Broadway, on television, and in films. He was featured in
the motion picture LOST BOUNDARIES
starring Mel Ferrer, Beatrice Pearson and Canada Lee, co-starred
in SOULS OF SIN and played the
romantic lead in MIRACLE IN HARLEM.
He was also a featured actor in the Broadway stage hit LOST
IN THE STARS, written by Maxwell Anderson with music
by Kurt Weil, which starred Todd Duncan and was directed by
A long-time member of The Actors Studio in New York, in 1980
William Greaves was honored, together with 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, with the Studio’s first Dusa
Award. Along with his film production work, he taught acting
for film and television for the late Lee Strasberg from 1969
to 1982 at the Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York. During
this period he, along with film directors Elia Kazan, Arthur
Penn, and Lee Grant and actors Herbert Berghof, Shelley Winters,
and Eli Wallach, occasionally substituted for Mr. Strasberg
as moderator at the Actors Studio. A member of the Studio’s
board of directors, he currently moderates sessions at the Studio
along with Estelle Parsons, Lee Grant, Eli Wallach, Harvey Keitel,
Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn and Arthur Penn and is a member of
the Actors Studio auditioning committee.
In addition to producing films, Greaves presents his films,
conducts workshops and speaks about independent filmmaking and
the filmmaking process for media professionals, actors, directors
and the general public at universities and cultural centers
in the United States and abroad. He has toured with his films
in India, China, East and West Africa, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia,
Malaysia and the West Indies. A former Vice President of the
Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, he has served
as a judge on numerous film panels in America and abroad. Among
them are, national Emmy Award panels, the panels of the Sundance,
Hampton, and San Sebastian Film Festivals, and the Dore Schary
Awards. He is a member of the Arts Advisory Committee of The
Princess Grace Foundation and is the Chairman of its film awards
In addition to the production of documentaries, television programs,
and feature films, his company, William Greaves Productions,
Inc., distributes its own library of educational films and videos
to television and cable systems, universities, colleges, libraries,
cultural organizations and schools throughout the country and
Greaves lectures and gives informal talks on independent filmmaking,
the African-American experience in films, as well as his own
career as a filmmaker, at universities, libraries and other
educational and cultural centers throughout the U.S. an abroad.
To arrange a lecture, contact Louise Arthur at (800) 874-8314.
William Greaves is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who
in Entertainment in America and Who's Who in Black America.
For more information, contact Louise Arthur at :
WILLIAM GREAVES PRODUCTIONS, INC.