In her documentary, shown at the Sundance festival, Jamila Wignot shows the extraordinary path of a man "possessed" by dance - a hungry kid struggling to survive in Texas and an elegant adult, who years later receives the Kennedy Center Honors Award for Contribution to American Culture to applause by Faye Dunaway and Nancy Reagan. An extraordinary path, but also a very lonely one, because despite his talent, Alvin Ailey, a recognized dancer and choreographer, apparently did not feel worthy of success nor even love, as his friends suggest in the film. Stories about Australian audiences reacting to his art "as if they had an orgasm" and about a friend from Paris, who once abandoned him practically without saying a word, intertwine in Wignot's work with the memories of people whom Ailey helped accept their own identity, but also revealed their beauty on stage. Now, they are trying to repay him by dancing until they're breathless.
Jamila Wignot is a director nominated for an Emmy for the American Experience series. He films also include Makers: Women Who Make America, narrated by Meryl Streep, or The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In the documentary Town Hall, co-directed with Sierra Pettengill, she takes a look at activists in the US Tea Party. Her latest film, Ailey, dedicated to the famous dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey, was shown, among others, at Sundance.
2011 American Experience/Amerykańskie doświadczenia (TV series doc.)
2013 Town Hall (doc.)
2014 Makers: Women Who Make America (TV series doc.)
2017 Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (TV series doc.)
2021 Ailey (doc.)