Both Gerry Williams, my father-mentor who did so much to launch my life in a new and better direction, and William Greaves, the great documentary filmmaker–the Dean of African American Documentary, died on the same day.
Both GW and WG were born in 1926, and both had been in failing health for some time. I had known Bill Greaves since 1976 when I was working as a film editor for Amram Nowak: Bill had his offices next door. Inspired to write about Bill Greaves, I penned an essay on his life and films with Adam Knee–who had similar interests. Bill was very happy with the essay, which meant a great deal to both of us. I apprenticed to Gerry in a very modest fashion (more of an intern in today’s paralence) and ultimately made a documentary about him––An American Potter (1976). Some of that film was cut in Amram’s editing rooms on nights and weekends. Only in writing this post, do I realize some of these uncanny parallels.
There is much that I could say about each one of them. I will try to come back to this post and do so, but for the moment I just want to note their passing. My admiration and gratitude was shared by many in both cases.
Here is the original brochure for An American Potter: