Acclaimed Documentary Filmmaker Albert Maysles to Give Public Screenings and Presentations During Visit to Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — Documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles will publicly screen and discuss some of his most acclaimed works during a three-day visit to Ithaca College. Maysles, along with his late brother David, is recognized as a pioneer of “direct cinema,” earning a distinguished reputation for making non-fiction feature films — films in which the drama of human life unfolds as is, without scripts, sets or narration.

“His list of accomplishments is endless, including portraits of the greatest artists, musicians, writers, actors and politicians of our time as well as the lives of ordinary people, the poor, the terminally ill, the abandoned,” said Arturo Sinclair, assistant professor of television-radio. “All have made him an extraordinary witness to our complex times.”

Three of the Maysles brothers’ classic documentaries will be screened during Albert’s visit:

  • “Gimme Shelter” (1970), a dazzling portrait of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones on their 1969 U.S. tour, which culminated in a killing at the notorious concert at Altamont.
  • “Grey Gardens” (1976), which tells the haunting story of a mother and daughter pair of high society dropouts living secluded in a decaying East Hampton mansion. It was later adapted into a Broadway musical and HBO film.
  • “Salesman” (1968), a landmark American documentary that captures in vivid detail the bygone era of door-to-door Bible salesmen.

In 2010, “Grey Gardens” was named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, which includes American films that are deemed culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. It joined earlier Maysles inductees “Salesman” and “Primary,” a 1960 documentary about the Democratic primary campaigns of John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

Sinclair has created a blog at, which he hopes will serve as a permanent dynamic repository of “everything Maysles.” He said the visit is an opportunity to learn from a master of his craft.

“Albert has agreed to present some of his most important films in an open forum and give a master class where students, faculty and members of the local community will have a chance to learn from one of the most passionate minds that has ever looked through a camera lens at our common, everyday reality.”

At the age of 84, Maysles continues to be a creative force. His current film projects include one based on a song by R.E.M., one consisting entirely of children interviewing each other and one about the secret side of New York City. His nonprofit Maysles Institute in Harlem works with community members and organizations engaged in social, political and cultural change to create cross-cultural dialogue, relationships and empowerment through documentary film and filmmaking.

Among his numerous honors, Maysles has been presented with the Career Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association; President’s Award from the American Society of Cinematographers; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Ashland Independent Film Festival, Portland Festival of World Cinema and Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. In 1999, Eastman Kodak saluted him as one of the world’s 100 finest cinematographers.

All of the following are open to the public, and all but the Cinemapolis screening are free:

Sunday, Feb. 6, 4 p.m.
Cinemapolis, 120 East Green St.
Screening of “Gimme Shelter,” followed by audience Q&A
Tickets, which are only available at the door, are $10 ($8 for students).

Monday, Feb. 7, Noon–2 p.m.
Park Hall Auditorium, Ithaca College
Albert Maysles Master Class

Monday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.
Park Hall Auditorium, Ithaca College
Screening of “Grey Gardens,” followed by audience Q&A

Tuesday, Feb. 8, Noon
Park Hall Auditorium, Ithaca College
Screening of “Salesman,” followed by audience Q&A

Sponsors of the visit include the Roy H. Park School of Communications; School of Music; Departments of Television and Radio and of Cinema, Photography and Media Arts; Park Center for Independent Media; Office of the Provost; Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs; Linden Center for Creativity and Aging; and Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival.

For more information contact Melissa Gattine, marketing communications manager in the Roy H. Park School of Communications, at (607) 274-1023 or

Albert Maysles