Ali was born and lives in London. He is an award-winning writer, journalist, filmmaker and editor. His writing has been featured in the Guardian, Time Out, GQ, Film4, Word magazine and the Big Issue, among others. In 2001, he co-authored Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since the Sixties and in 2018 edited Scala Cinema 1978-1993 by Jane Giles, winner of the 2019 Kraszna-Krausz Award.
Ali is currently co-directing a major feature-length documentary about the Scala and working on a memoir about his childhood.