Alexis Gambis

Assistant Arts Professor of Film and New Media Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BA Bard College; PhD The Rockefeller University; MFA NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Research Websites: Laboratory of Experimental Cinema

Research Areas: Animal Perspectives, Docu-Fiction, History of Science, Magical Realism, Science New Wave

Alexis Gambis is a French-Venezuelan filmmaker and biologist. Combining documentary and fiction, his films embrace animal perspectives, explore themes of identity, and experiment with new forms of scientific storytelling. 

His first feature The Fly Room (2014) brings back to life the early 20th-century insect laboratory where pioneer scientists bred fruit flies to elucidate the basic principles of genes in heredity. His latest feature Son of Monarchs” (2021) delves into issues of identity, (im)migration, and evolution. A New York Times Critics Pick, the Mexican-American drama was praised for its "rich imagery [that] will be imprinted in your memory, returning to you in dreams." It received the Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and it is now streaming on HBO Max

Alexis is currently working on three different films. The Next Jaguar is an adventure movie about two indigenous climate sisters who summon a trusting American biologist to revive the last Jaguar Shaman, keeper of ancient traditions of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Mousetrap is an auto-fiction piece that brings together memory research, mice, and family archives in a haunting story about a young neuroscientist obsessed with his childhood home. Supported by a fellowship at The Film Study Center at Harvard University, Alexis is developing a limited series El Beso that brings to the screen the science fiction tales of the father of modern neuroscience, Santiago Ramón y Cajal. 

Alexis founded the Science New Wave (SNW) movement that argues for multi-trait approaches in how we create and share scientific narratives. The Science New Wave Festival takes place every fall in New York bringing to you the latest crop of science cinema. Science New Wave film programs are also curated year-round on the Labocine streaming platform.

His work has been featured in a variety of festivals, conferences, galleries, and press outlets, notably the Sundance Film Festival,  TED,  dOCUMENTA (13), Nature, and The New York Times.

Courses Taught