a new feature documentary from



Jamila Wignot


Lauren DeFilippo

Executive Producers

Stephen Ives

Amanda Pollak

Michael Kantor

Emily Blavatnik

Judy Kinberg

Sally Jo Fifer

Tony Hsieh

Roberto Grande

Mimi Pham

Bryn Mooser

Kathryn Everett

Regina K. Scully

Jenny Raskin

Geralyn White Dreyfous

Sundance Film Festival 2021 Official Selection Laurel

World Premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

Alvin Ailey dancing with Carmen de Lavallade

The Film

Alvin Ailey was a visionary artist who found salvation through dance. An immersive portrait told in his own words and through the creation of a new commission inspired by his life, Ailey fully profiles this brilliant and enigmatic man who — when confronted by a world that refused to embrace him — was determined to build one that would.


Screenings & Events



5:00 PM

Helsinki Film Festival



5:00 PM

New Zealand International Film Festival



5:00 PM

American Film Festival - Poland



5:00 PM

Teaneck International Film Festival

Creative Team

Jamila Wignot

Jamila Wignot Director

Jamila Wignot is a documentary filmmaker based in New York. Her directing work includes the Peabody, Emmy and NAACP award-winning series ​The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross ​(PBS), hosted by Henry Louis Gates and chronicling the five hundred year history of African Americans; ​Town Hall ​ (co-directed with ​Sierra Pettingill), ​a feature-length co-production with ITVS following Tea Party activists determined to unseat Barack Obama; and, for PBS’s American Experience series, the Peabody Award-winning ​Triangle Fire ​ and Emmy-nominated ​Walt Whitman​ . Jamila’s producing credits include W. Kamau Bell’s ​Bring The Pain (A&E); Sundance award-winning director Musa Syeed's narrative feature​ A Stray (SXSW); ​Street Fighting Men, following the Black Detroiters fighting for the city they love; and The Rehnquist Revolution​, the fourth episode of WNET’s series ​The Supreme Court​, which was an IDA Best Limited Series winner.

Lauren DeFilippo

Lauren DeFilippo Producer

Lauren DeFilippo is a documentary director and producer based in New York. Her short films—most notably ​Clean Hands, The Here After ​and​ Detroit Party Marching Band​—have screened at numerous festivals, including Slamdance, Hot Docs and CPH:DOX, and have been featured on ​The New York Times Op-Docs​ and​ Eyeslicer II​ . Her work has been supported by institutions such as the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, Sundance Institute and IFP Documentary Lab. Lauren co-produced the Emmy-nominated ​Into the Grand Canyon​ for National Geographic. Her recent directorial feature debut, ​Red Heaven​ (co-directed with Katherine Gorringe), follows six people as they live for a year inside a NASA psychological experiment to simulate humanity’s first outpost on Mars. In addition to producing ​Ailey, Lauren is currently directing ​Free Money, a feature-documentary about the world’s largest universal basic income experiment now underway in rural Kenya. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University.

Annukka Lilja

Annukka Lilja Editor

Annukka Lilja is a Finnish-born, New York-based editor whose award-winning documentary and narrative films have appeared on HBO and at major film festivals worldwide—including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and IDFA. She was the recipient of the Best Editing award from the International Documentary Festival in 2016 for ​How to Let Go of the World (and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change) ​(directed by Josh Fox, with a premiere at Sundance 2016).  Her other editing credits include Critics Choice 2020 award winner ​Mr. Soul!​ (directed by Melissa Haizlip and Samuel D. Pollard) and ​Bill Nye: Science Guy​ (directed by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg). She most recently edited ​We Are As Gods​ (directed by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg, co-edited with Ben Sozanski​)​ .

Rebecca Kent

Rebecca Kent Archival Producer

Rebecca Kent is an investigative producer with expertise in archival research, rights and clearances. Her credits include the award-winning documentary ​Amanda Knox, ​ which premiered on Netflix in 2016; Crooked Media’s ​The Wilderness​, a fifteen-episode audio documentary on the history and future of the Democratic party; and PBS’s ​The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. She holds an MA in Journalism from Northwestern University.

Naiti Gámez

Naiti Gámez Director of Photography

Naiti Gámez  is a New York-based filmmaker from Miami/Cuba. Naiti has worked as a cinematographer and director on award-winning films and television series. Her film ​Love, Sadie​ premiered at the Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner. Films on which she has worked as a cinematographer have screened at festivals worldwide including Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Camerimage, Tribeca, SXSW, Festival du Cinema de Paris, and Festival de Cine Internacional de Barcelona. Her TV credits include HBO, Showtime, PBS, ESPN, MTV, Discovery Channel, Nova, and Animal Planet. Naiti has also worked with non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad. As a youth-media educator, she's collaborated with young people to produce videos about social, cultural and political issues that affect them. She holds an MFA in Film Production (Cinematography concentration) from the University of Texas at Austin.

Daniel Bernard Roumain

Daniel Bernard Roumain Composer

Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) is a prolific and endlessly collaborative composer, performer, educator, and social entrepreneur. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), DBR has worked with artists from Philip Glass to Bill T. Jones to Lady Gaga; appeared on NPR, American Idol and ESPN; and has collaborated with the Sydney Opera House and the City of Burlington, Vermont. Known for his signature violin sounds infused with myriad electronic, urban and African-American music influences, DBR’s career spans more than two decades, earning commissions by venerable artists and institutions worldwide.

Al Malonga

Al Malonga Production Designer

Raised between France and Cameroon, Al Malonga is a versatile storyteller, production & costume designer, and art director based in NYC. After moving from Paris, Al organically built an eclectic portfolio, making it a point to always diversify and get a taste of all the different expressions and platforms for her art form. Highly adaptable, her aesthetic eye and craft lead her to movies, commercials, but also short films, music videos, prized independent feature films, as well as live shows and plays. A member of Local 829 , Al dresses places people and things, with her visual creations, to best serve the story of the day. wardrobebreakdown.com

Insignia Films

Insignia Films has earned a national reputation for creating landmark documentary films – meticulously crafted, immersive, character-driven narratives – that respect their subjects and captivate their audiences. Insignia's team has been recognized with numerous nominations and awards, including Primetime Emmy’s and honors from the Directors and Writers Guilds of America. Led by director/producers Stephen Ives, Amanda Pollak and Lauren DeFilippo, Insignia has carved out a distinguished record of independence and accomplishment, while never losing sight of its core mission – to reveal the essential issues and struggles of our time with complexity and compassion. Insignia helped found the ground-breaking digital news platform, Retro Report and has produced films for HBO and National Geographic, but is best known for creating nearly two dozen films and series for national broadcast on PBS. Most recently, the Emmy-nominated film Into the Grand Canyon (2019, dir. Pete McBride), premiered on National Geographic; a portrait of a ground-breaking Mars simulation, Red Heaven (2020, dirs. Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe), received its world premiere at DOC NYC and was a selection of the SXSW, Tribeca and CPH:DOX festivals; and Insignia’s latest film, Ailey (2021, dir. Jamila Wignot), a biography of the legendary dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival.



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