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Neon Buys Jamila Wignot’s Documentary ‘Ailey’

Sundance 2021: Doc focuses on dance legend Alvin Ailey

Neon has acquired its second film out of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival: Jamila Wignot’s “Ailey,” about dance legend Alvin Ailey.

The film, which debuted at the festival on Saturday to critical acclaim, includes never-before-heard audio interviews recorded in the last year of his life, with rare dance performances by the Ailey Company.

Ailey was a visionary artist who founded one of the world’s most renowned dance companies — the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — at age 27.

“Ailey is a searing and inspirational account of a visionary artistic genius who used his gift of dance and movement to express the Black American experience,” Darcy Heusel, Neon’s head of impact and audience engagement, said in a statement. “Jamila Wignot has created an indelible portrait of both the artist and his work and Neon is thrilled to be part of continuing his legacy by bringing this remarkable film to theaters across the country.”

Wignot directed the film, which was produced by Lauren DeFilippo. The film is produced by Insignia Films in association with American Masters Pictures, the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, ITVS, XTR, Impact Partners, and Black Public Media. Stephen Ives, Amanda Pollak, Michael Kantor, Emily Blavatnik, Judy Kinberg, Sally Jo Fifer, Tony Hsieh, Roberto Grande, Mimi Pham, Bryn Mooser, Kathryn Everett, Jenny Raskin, Geralyn White Dreyfous and Regina K. Scully executive produced.

The deal was negotiated by Ayo Kepher-Maat and Jeff Deutchman for Neon and Jason Ishikawa and Shane Riley of Cinetic on behalf of the filmmakers.