His works as director include We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (the winner of three primetime Emmy awards), Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (nominated in 2005 for Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (short-listed in 2011 for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); Casino Jack and the United States of Money; and Taxi to the Dark Side (winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature), focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed at Bagram Air Force Base in 2002.
Life and career
After attending Pomfret School, Gibney earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University and later attended the UCLA Film School. He is the son of journalist Frank Gibney and the stepson of the late Rev. William Sloane Coffin.
He served as executive producer of the documentary No End in Sight (2007). His film Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008) is a documentary based on Hunter Thompson's life and his "Gonzo" style of journalism. Under executive producer Martin Scorsese, Gibney was series producer for the PBS television series The Blues (2003) (producing individual episodes directed by Wim Wenders and Charles Burnett) and writer-producer of The Pacific Century (1992) (which won the News & Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Historical Program). Several films he directed and/or produced have been screened at the Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca Film Festivals.
[The Exterminating Angel is] dark, but it's also wickedly funny and mysterious in ways that can’t be reduced to a simple, analytical explanation. I always thought that's what's great about movies sometimes—the best movies have to be experienced; they can’t just be written about.
Gibney's Taxi to the Dark Side premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival where it won Best Documentary. The film probes the homicide of an innocent taxi driver named Dilawar at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.
Gibney is President of Jigsaw Productions, which produces independent films, music documentaries, and TV mini-series. He has been honored by the Yale Film Studies program for his contributions to film culture. In 2010, Utne Reader listed Gibney as one of "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World."
His recent film, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, is a comprehensive look at WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning. The Wikileaks organization itself has objected to the way Gibney portrayed it, and has posted a line-by-line rebuttal to the entire film.
Gibney's most recent projects include work on The Armstrong Lie (about Lance Armstrong) and Catching Hell (a contribution to ESPN's '30 for 30' series which looks at "The Inning" in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series).
Gibney is able to create emotionally compelling and impactful documentaries through his investigative research, his creative and compelling narrative processes (using performative and participatory modes of documentary) and his use of imagery on screen and interviews that allow an emotional connection between film and viewer.
On June 19, 2008, Gibney's company filed for arbitration, arguing that THINKFilm failed to properly distribute and promote his film Taxi to the Dark Side. He is suing for over a million dollars in damages. He stated that the film has grossed only $280,000.
Filmography (as director)
- The Ruling Classroom (1980)
- Manufacturing Miracles (1988)
- The Fifties (1997), television mini-series
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies: Love Crazy (1998)
- The Sexual Century: Sexual Explorers (1999)
- The Sexual Century: The Sexual Revolution (1999)
- Jimi Hendrix and the Blues (2001)
- Behind Those Eyes (2005)
- Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
- 3 Doors Down: Away from the Sun, Live from Houston, Texas (2005)
- Time Piece (segment "Empire of the Pushcarts") (2006)
- The Human Behavior Experiments (2006)
- Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)
- Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008)
- Freakonomics (segment producer, 2010)
- Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010)
- Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010)
- My Trip to Al Qaeda (2010)
- Catching Hell (2011)
- Magic Trip (2011)
- The Last Gladiators (2011)
- Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012)
- Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream (2012)
- We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013)
- The Armstrong Lie (2013)
- Finding Fela (2014)
- Ceasefire Massacre (2014)
- "Alex Gibney Movie – Documentaries by Alex Gibney". Esquire. 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
- Gibney, Alex. Interview by Robert K. Elder. The Film That Changed My Life. By Robert K. Elder. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2011. N. p95. Print.
- Cole, Williams (February 2008). "How We Torture: Alex Gibney in conversation with Williams Cole". The Brooklyn Rail.
- "Alex Gibney: The Smartest Guy in the Room". Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- "Annotated Transcript of 'We Steal Secrets' by Alex Gibney". Wikileaks.org. 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
- Alex Gibney | Jigsaw Productions. Bio.
- Christine Kearney (June 26, 2008). "US documentary maker seeks damages over Oscar film". Reuters. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
- Charles Lyons (June 26, 2008). "Filmmaker Says Distributor Failed Him". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 12, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- "Festival Unveils Highly Anticipated World Premieres Of Documentaries From Werner Herzog, Morgan Spurlock, Jessica Yu, Nick Broomfield And More". Toronto International Film Festival 2011.
- "NY Post toasts Alex Gibney’s "Park Avenue" documentary | Michael Gross". Mgross.com. 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
- Alex Gibney at the Internet Movie Database
- Alex Gibney video discussing his new film on Lance Armstrong YouTube
- Interview with Alex Gibney at IFC.com
- Plum TV Telluride Interviews Alex Gibney About Gonzo
- Gibney Bio (Jigsaw Productions)
- Alex Gibney at the Internet Movie Database
- Gibney interview on Democracy Now! (video, audio, and print transcript)
- Alex Gibney's Commercial Work
- "How We Torture: Alex Gibney in conversation with Williams Cole" The Brooklyn Rail (Feb 2008)
- IONCINEMA.com TIFF 2010 Viral: Alex Gibney's Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Gibney about Casino Jack and the United States of Money, June 13, 2010