Albert Maysles 1926 – 2015

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our founder, legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles.  Albert was a loving husband, father, brother and friend to many.  For more than five decades, Albert created groundbreaking films, inspired filmmakers and touched all those with his humanity, presence and his belief in the power of love.  He was also a teacher, mentor and a source of inspiration for countless filmmakers, artists and everyday people.

A statement from the Maysles family from yesteday – photo also taken from there:

“The press release from the family goes like this: Maysles, a pioneer of Direct Cinema along with his late brother David, was the first to make nonfiction feature films, where the drama of life unfolds as is without scripts, sets, interviews or narration. The Maysles brothers founded Maysles Films together in the 1960s. Among his more than 50 films are some of the most iconic works in documentary history: including the first Beatles’ film What’s Happening, Salesman, Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens.

In the spring of 2015, Iris, a portrait of Legendary New York style icon, Iris Apfel will have a worldwide theatrical release, and In Transit, a portrait of America told through the personal stories of riders aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder, premiering in competition at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival in April.

Maysles’ celebrated career has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Peabody Awards, three Emmy Awards, six Lifetime Achievement Awards, the Columbia DuPont Award, and the award for best cinematography at Sundance for HBO’s Lalee’s Kin: The Legacy of Cotton (2001), which was also nominated for an Academy Award. Eastman Kodak has saluted him as one of the “world’s 100 finest cinematographers”. In 2014 Albert received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Made In New York” award.

Erika Dilday, Executive Director of Maysles Documentary Center, founded in 2006, echoes the family’s sentiments. “While we mourn the loss of Albert, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as inspiration to people around the world to be willing to push themselves creatively and take the time to observe and reflect on life as it unfolds.

Albert’s legacy will continue as new generations of film goers and filmmakers discover his work, and as we at Maysles Documentary Center continue to celebrate his movies and his mission through our production, Education and Cinema programs.”

… Numerous are the posts on this site where Albert Maysles is mentioned. And what a pleasure it was to meet the master, when he visited Denmark to give advice and encouragement to young filmmakers. With humour and warmth. Take 5 minutes and watch the Guardian interview with him, link below.

And read what Sare Thelle wrote in 2010 from Cinéma du Réel, that paid a tribute to the Maysles. 

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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