The William Greaves Collection is part of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Series at the Ithaca College library.

This collection features 14 films by William Greaves, one of the most important and influential African American documentary filmmakers


In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF), the Ithaca College library has added 14 titles produced and directed by the filmmaker William Greaves (1926-2014) to the FLEFF series of over 500 titles

FLEFF celebrates the legacy of filmmaker William Greaves with a special library collection available for teaching and research, a three-film retrospective with panels, and two special events.

William Greaves, Filmmaker


Filmmaker William Greaves on location

William Greaves is one of the most significant and compelling American filmmakers of the past century.

His complex career remains among the most productive and diverse in the annals of American cultural history. Growing up in a working-class West Indian immigrant family in Harlem as the cultural Renaissance of the 1920’s turned into the long Depression of the 1930’s, Greaves was able to defy social, racial and economic barriers to become one of the most prolific documentary filmmakers of his era.

The 52-year filmmaking career of Greaves has resulted in an immense, multi-faceted body of work that the Ithaca College Library’s FLEFF Series on Greaves highlights.

In 2015, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One was one of the 25 films selected that year to be added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, whose mission is “to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s film heritage.”




(E-Book) William Greaves: Filmmaking as Mission, coedited by Scott MacDonald and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart (Columbia University Press, 2021)


first world

First World Festival of Negro Arts (William Greaves, US, 1966)


Space for Women (1981)

Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class (1968)

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1971)*

la raza

Symbiopsyhcotaxiplasm: Take Two (2005)

Voice of La Raza  (1972)

William Greaves Retrospective at FLEFF 2022


FLEFF will also mount a three-film retrospective at Cinemapolis Virtual Cinema (Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice, Nationtime, and Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One) in collaboration with the Park Center for Independent Media, with a series of panels.

On Friday April 1 on Zoom, Scott MacDonald, co-editor of the new volume William Greaves: Filmmaking as Mission, will be in conversation with filmmaker Su Friedrich, who, with Louise Archambault Greaves, created a new website on the filmmaker

On Monday April 4, in a hybrid event, actors Marc Gomes and Cynthia Henderson will perform some of Greaves writing on film, followed by a panel on Symbiopsychotaxiplasm featuring the actors, Paula Ioanide from the Center for the Study of Race, Culture, and Ethnicity, and Joan Hawkins, a film scholar from Indiana University.

A Salute to the Ithaca College Librarians

FLEFF extends a special thanks to our Ithaca College library staff who have worked on the William Greaves acquisitions for the last six months:  Jennifer Richards, Fine Arts Librarian; Kelly Merritt, Multimedia Services Manager; Terri Beth Ledbetter, Multiformat Acquisitions Specialist; and Karin Wickoff, Interim Director.