John T. Williams is an award-winning, screen dance filmmaker. His dance films have been presented in over 140 film festivals throughout South America, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and the United States. His film, "Jilava" received eight awards and nominations, including the award for "Best Experimental/Avant-garde Film" at the DOTS Christian Film Festival in Kenya, "Best of Festival" award at the Texas Christian Film Festival and "Best Director" at the international Christian Film Festival in Orlando . The film tells the story of a foreign missionary held prisoner at the infamous Romanian Communist prison, “Jilava” in the 1950’s. The film is loosely based on the real life experiences of Pastor Wurmbrand who endured 12 twelve years of persecution and torture. Powerfully choreographed and performed by former San Francisco Ballet soloist, Ommi Pipit-Suksun and Ballet San Jose soloist, Rudy Candia. "Jilava" was also presented at a lecture on "Dance and Spirituality" at the University of Theology in Graz, Austria.
His dance film, “Black Train is Coming” was screened in over 24 film festivals world-wide and is based on the 1926 sermon, “Death’s Black Train is Coming” by Rev J.M Gates, one of the most prolific black preachers in the US. The film was presented in the lecture at the joint conference of Society of Dance History Scholars/Congress of Research on Dance at UC Riverside as part of the presentation, “Bodies Among the Ruins: Dance Films Emerging Legacy” and is also included in The ReelDance Moving Image Collection archive at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia for cultural research and curricula in dance and film studies.
His dance film, “American Overture” received the award for “Best Film” at the “Dance Theatre Story” competition during the 2nd Dance Theatres Festival “Open Stage” in Poland. The film celebrates American diversity, culture and freedom set in a collage of iconic surreal imagery and performed by dancers from the San Francisco Ballet. The film has been presented in prestigious festivals throughout the US, Japan and Europe.
His most controversial and thought-provoking film, “2412” is based on the 1984 Edward Griffin interview with EX-KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov discussing ideological subversion in the United States. The film is beautifully choreographed and performed by award winning choreographer, Lisa K. Lock. The film has been presented throughout Europe and the US and featured in a special dance film exhibition in Taiwan and nominated for the “Most innovative use of sound” at the LightMoves Festival in Ireland and received the award for "Best Experimental Film" at the Polish International Film Festival.
His film, ”Four Stages of Collapse” received the award for "Best Experimental Film" at the Bucharest ShortCut CineFest Festival in Romania and was nominated for "Best Dance Film" at the International Film Festival North Hollywood. The film is an abstract narrative based on a quote by Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin, which reads, “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its individualism, its diversity, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within”. Is this happening today in America? The film is powerfully choreographed and performed by Jabbawockeez dancer/choreographer Tony Tran.
His most recent film, “The Big Race” has been presented in over twenty film festivals world-wide and received the "Grand Jury Award" and "Best Experimental Film" award at the Underexposed Film Festival. Set in a surreal world of giant TV’s, talking flowers and dancing Ravens, two mannequins discuss the controversial race between Mr. Tortoise and Ms. Rabbit after allegations surface that the race was rigged by the ravens. A lighthearted dark comedy.
John received his BA in Cinema at San Francisco State University. He also wrote, produced and directed several stage ballets featuring dancers from the San Francisco Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Oakland Ballet.