The First World Festival of Negro Arts

Director: William Greaves
Country: USA
Year: 1968
Running Time: 40 min
Language: English

One of the earliest and best such surveys, First World is the official documentary film of the event of the same name, held in Dakar, Senegal. More than 2000 writers, artists, and performers from 30 nations in Africa and the African diaspora participated in this gathering designed to celebrate traditional and contemporary black culture.

About the Director

William Greaves

Bill-GreavesBiography: 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 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 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 film Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey (2001), 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 (1974), 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 (1989), which has won 19 film festival awards and was nominated for a 1990 NAACP Image Award. Greaves also served as Executive Producer of Universal Pictures Bustin’ Loose (1981), starring Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson, and produced, wrote and directed the feature films Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968); The Marijuana Affair (1975); and The Fighters (1974), 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 later was a member of the Studio’s board of directors. Greaves died at the age of 87 at his home in Manhattan on August 25, 2014.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
The First World Festival of Negro Arts (1997, 2003, 2009).

Putting It Straight (1957);
Smoke and Weather (1958);
Emergency Ward (1959);
Four Religions (1960);
The First World Festival of Negro Arts (1966);
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968);
Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class (1968);
In the Company of Men (1969);
The Voice of La Raza (1972);
Struggle for Los Trabajos (1972);
On Merit (1972);
Nationtime, Gary (1973);
From These Roots (1974);
The Fighters (1974);
Power Versus the People (1974);
EEOC Story (1974);
Whose Standard English? (1974);
The Marijuana Affair (1975);
Just Doin’ It: A Tale of Two Barbershops (1976);
Opportunities in Criminal Justice (1978);
Where Dreams Come True (1979);
To Free Their Minds (1980);
Space for Women (1981);
Booker T. Washington, the Life and the Legacy (1982);
A Plan for All Seasons (1983);
Frederick Douglass, an American Life (1985);
Beyond the Forest (1985);
Fighter for Freedom (1985);
Black Power in America: Myth or Reality? (1988);
The Best of Black Journal (1988);
Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice (1989);
That’s Black Entertainment (1990);
The Deep North (1990);
Resurrections: Paul Robeson (1990);
A Tribute to Jackie Robinson (1990);
Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey (2001);
Ralph Bunche, the Odyssey Continues… (2003);
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2 ½ (2005).