Originally from Arkansas, Champ followed his passion for cinematography to Southern California where he soon found his second love; the ocean. An avid outdoorsman from a young age, Champ took to the underwater kelp forests of the Channel Islands as effortlessly as he had the Ozark forests of his youth.
Champ honed his skills in the film and video production program of Brooks Institute of Photography while concurrently attending California State University, Northridge, as a marine biology major, and Ventura College as a trade machinist. In 2006, he received his B.A. cum laude from Brooks. In 2007, Champ accepted an undergraduate research scholarship from the National Science Foundation, which relocated him to Shannon Point Marine Center of Western Washington University. In 2008, Champ returned to Southern California to complete his marine biology degree from CSUN.
In 2008, at the age of 25, Champ received his greatest honor yet: two Emmy nominations for a pair of natural history segments he photographed in Puget Sound. He went on to win for producing “The Secret Weapon.” In the next few years, Champ received over 30 industry awards for his natural history productions including Best Picture at the North Sea Film Festival in Holland, the Demitri Rebikoff Award for Technical Achievement at the World Festival of Underwater Images in France, and the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Cinematography. His work has been featured in film festivals and television broadcasts all over the world.
Like his education, Champ's diving background is diverse. Champ served four years on the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Underwater Search and Rescue Dive Team enhancing his diving and rescue skills through regular training and deployment. Champ is a National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) certified SCUBA instructor and is certified on various rebreather systems thru the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers.
In 2009, Champ returned to Arkansas to begin work on a passion project entitled “Ozarks Underwater.” However, not long after returning, he was presented the opportunity to develop a video production department at the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith; an opportunity he readily accepted. A fervent lifelong learner, Champ completed his masters of science in operations management from the University of Arkansas in 2011. Today, Champ Williams continues to manage the multimedia productions at UAFS while promoting his personal production company.
Unique traits: underwater cinematographer
Silver ADDY: American Advertising Federation (AACSB accreditation music video)
Silver ADDY: American Advertising Federation ("NUMA" commercial campaign)
El Capitan Award, Environmental Film: Yosemite International Film Festival (I stopped for a turtle this morning…)
Stan Waterman Award of Excellence in Underwater Cinematography (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
CINE Golden Eagle; Professional Non-Fiction Short (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
TELLY; Excellence in Wildlife Production (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
TELLY; Excellence in Cinematography (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
Runner-Up, Professional Production; British Underwater Film Festival (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
Honorable Mention, Underwater Cinematography, BLUE Ocean Film Festival (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
EMMY; Arts/Entertainment Segment: National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest (The Secret Weapon)
EMMY Nomination; Photography: National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
AEGIS; Wildlife: (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
Best Independent Film: North Sea Film Festival, Netherlands (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
Demitri Rebikoff Prize for Technical Achievement: World Festival of Underwater Images, France (Attack of the Sea Slugs)
University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)
Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA)
California State University, Northridge
Brooks Institute (Santa Barbara, CA)