Ellis Trailer


DOC NYCWorld Premiere
November 10 + 11, 2022

Alhambra Berlin
January 27, 2023

American Documentary Film & Animation Festival
March 31, 2023

RiverRun International Film Festival
April 16, 2023

USA Film Festival
April 22, 2023

Jazz Museum
May 3, 2023

Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro
May 4, 2023

Krakow International Film Festival
Music Documentary Competition
May 30 + June 2, 2023

Soundtrack Cologne/See the Sound
June 23, 2023

Lets Dok
September 11 + 16, 2023

University of New Orleans Sandbar
October 6, 2023

Tryon International Film Festival
October 8, 2023

Tulane University
October 12, 2023

Mystic Film Festival
October 21. 2023

St. Louis International Film Festival
November 12, 2023

Xavier University
November 14th, 2023

Dillard University
February 29th, 2024

HB Studio
March 17, 2024

Jazz Festival Tübingen
May 9, 2024

Jazz at the Movies
May 18, 2024

Thursday, 10 November 2022
7:30PM | Cinépolis Chelsea

“Patriarch of the famed First Family of Jazz, Ellis Marsalis was a master jazz pianist, composer and educator. This intimate documentary delves into the life and career of this music icon, interlaced with rare footage of key moments in US history, and footage of his final live performances. Anecdotes from sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, Ellis III, Jason, and actor Wendell Pierce, round out the film as Ellis recounts for us the story of his illustrious life.”

– Karen McMullen

The Life and Complicated Times of Pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr.

ELLIS chronicles the life of this exceptional composer, performer, and educator, the profound influence that the city had on him — and that he had on the jazz that came out of New Orleans. It is also a story of how one man transcended racial injustices he faced from his birth during segregation to his death from COVID 19.


Made with the full cooperation of Ellis and his family, ELLIS is told in the words and music of Ellis Marsalis Jr.

Live concerts i.e at Jazz at Lincoln Center and a solo concert at the Marsalis Center for Music performed exclusively for the film are interlaced with verité scenes that place Ellis in his city and with interviews with colleagues and his sons Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, Ellis III., and Jason. Archival footage and photos take us back to New Orleans of the early twentieth century, to California of the fifties where Ellis served in the Marines and played with modernist giant Ornette Coleman, to New York of the seventies where he toured, and to his classrooms throughout the years.

The result is more than a biography of one of jazz’s heroes. The film interweaves Ellis’ accomplishments with key threads of American cultural history, placing him in historical context as someone who was both deeply affected the by world around him, and who helped to shape that world.