Alexis Gambis

Assistant Professor of Biology, Film & 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: Visualization, Experimental, Evolutionary Developmental, Film


Alexis Gambis is a French-Venezuelan filmmaker and biologist. His films combine documentary and fiction, often embracing animal perspectives and experimenting with new forms of scientific storytelling.

In 2008, he founded the Imagine Science Film Festival that recently celebrated its 13th year of showcasing science in film from around the world. In 2016, he launched the sister portal Labocine. Coined the "Netflix for Science," the VOD platform provides a virtual ecosystem to experience science cinema in all its flavors by hybridizing forms, and fostering a dialogue between scientists, artists and educators

As a recipient of the 2019 TED Fellowship, his TED Talk makes a case for more science in fiction to humanize the scientist in the public eye and to inform a broader audience on the interplay of research advancements, scientific representations and social issues.

His second feature Son of Monarchs dissects through issues of identity, (im)migration and animal/human evolution. The Mexican-American film premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the NEXT section, celebrating pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling. At Sundance, Son of Monarchs won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize given to a feature film that focuses on science or technology as a theme, or depicts a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character.

His first feature film The Fly Room is based on the true story of the birth of modern genetics at the turn of the 20th century. Reviews applauded the biopic for its "witty script" and ability to "communicate science in a subtle way."  He is also one of the ten filmmakers of the omnibus 2014 film The Color of Time, inspired by the poetry of C.K. Williams, starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, and Jessica Chastain. He has also written, directed and produced over a dozen shorts that have played at festivals worldwide.

He has been featured in various press and media outlets, notably The New York Times, Forbes, Variety, Nature and on WNYC. His mixed media installations have also been presented in a range of art and science spaces, notably dOCUMENTA, Smithsonian Museum, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature and the Nobel Museum.

At NYUAD, Alexis Gambis has a double appointment in the Sciences and Arts & Humanities. He teaches courses at the intersection of science and film, both in the Core and Film program. He also teaches in the NYU Tisch Special Program, notably a J-term course in Havana entitled “Postcards from Cuba.”

Courses Taught