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Ailey by Jamila Wignot
A still from Ailey by Jamila Wignot, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jack Mitchell.

Jamila Wignot’s documentary “Ailey, ” an intimate portrait of dance legend Alvin Ailey which world premiered at Sundance Film Festival, has been acquired by NEON for release.

This resonant biography grants artful access to the man who, at only 27 years old, founded one of the world’s most renowned dance companies-the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Told through Ailey’s own words and featuring evocative archival footage and interviews with those who knew him, the film reveals the enduring power of Ailey’s vision by exploring his biography through the creation of a new commission inspired by his life.

Alvin Ailey was a visionary artist who found salvation through dance. Ailey explores the life and work of this brilliant and enigmatic man whose search for truth in movement resulted in pioneering choreography that centers on African American experiences.

Ailey’s story is one of sacrifice. Possessed by his ambitions, he dedicated himself to his company. He endured racism and homophobia; addiction and mental illness; and the burden of being an iconic African American artist. Thirty years after his death, Ailey’s dream lives on.

Director Jamila Wignot’s directing work includes the series The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, which won the Peabody Award, the Emmy Award, and the NAACP Image Award; Town Hall, a documentary portrait of Tea Party activists; Peabody Award-winning Triangle Fire; and Emmy-nominated Walt Whitman.

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