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#28: Alex & Ali

Directed by: Malachi Leopold
2014 / 87 mins
Persian with English Subtitles

Alex & Ali
Directed by: Malachi Leopold
2014 / 87 mins

This feature documentary tells the epic love story of an American and an Iranian gay couple. Alex, a former Peace Corps volunteer, spent a decade living in Iran (1967 – 1977). While there, he met and fell in love with Ali, an Iranian whom Alex considers his soul mate. When the Islamic revolution erupted in the late 70’s, Alex was forced to leave Iran – and Ali. But the two men kept their relationship alive through letters, phone calls, and emails.

In May 2012, documentary filmmaker and human rights advocate, Malachi Leopold followed Alex to Istanbul, where Alex and Ali reunited for the first time in 35 years, hoping to rekindle their relationship. The film follows the men as their best-laid plans are turned upside down, revealing emotionally painful twists and turns that transform their lives forever.

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: “Extraordinary. A complex story with a ruinous outcome. And it left me wrecked. I can’t remember the last time I had to pause a screener to collect myself. Deeply emotional, the film itself generates a slew of ethical questions. Which makes it intellectually involving as well. Most documentaries contend with ethical issues; all of that is heightened in Alex & Ali.”

SF WEEKLY: “The next great love story. What unfolds is at once heartwarming and heartbreaking as the two lovers confront more than just the wear and tear of time but the reality of a world still unwilling to recognize their union. Hollywood couldn’t have written it better.”

TORONTO FILM SCENE: “Absolutely essential viewing. An incredibly important film.”

Social entrepreneur, filmmaker, and human rights advocate Malachi Leopold is the Founder of Left Brain/Right Brain Productions, a full-service production company with a mission to create positive social change. From Chicago to the Congo, Gaza City to Amsterdam, Leopold has created documentaries, original series, and video content in collaboration with UNHCR, mtvU, Inc. Magazine, and TEDx, as well as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Global Fund for Women, and Interfaith Youth Core. Previous projects include 22 Years from Home (documentary, qualified for 2010 Academy Awards); Standing Silent (documentary, currently in film festivals); Bringing Hope to Justice (documentary, in distribution); and Trep Life (documentary series, in distribution).  Alex & Ali is Leopold’s 5th documentary film.