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Thread: ALBERT MAYSLES Memorial Film Festival (May 8-14, 2015)

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    ALBERT MAYSLES Memorial Film Festival (May 8-14, 2015)

    Albert Maysles Memorial Film Festival Honors Legendary Documentary Pioneer with Week-Long Documentary Festival at the Vogue Theater in San Francisco, May 8 - 14, 2015

    General Forum thread.



    Albert and David Maysles are among the greatest American documentary filmmakers. They are particularly warm and humanistic proponents of the non-intrusive school of Direct Cinema originated in the late Fifties and early Sixties, relying on the making of documentary films with minimal staff and light equipment, and without interviews, stock footage, or voiceover narration. Boston natives of working-class Jewish origin, the two brothers made movies as a duo, unaided in the shooting. Albert manned a camera of his own making and David used a separate, synchronized sound recording system that made it possible to shoot uninterrupted for longer than commercial equipment allowed before digital. The brothers worked together (with several faithful and brilliant editors) from the late Fifites till David's death in 1987. Then Albert continued making documentaries by himself until last year. He died March 5, 2015. Teacher and documentarian David L. Brown has set up a great program in San Francisco to celebrate the the Maysles' achievement. I'll be reviewing some of these, and was particularly eager to catch up on the Christo ones. By working on Christo's "Running Fence" myself in 1976, as part of doing an article about the project for Runner's World, and, somewhat paradoxically, winding up on the cover of the magazine running beside a strip of "Running Fence," I became a convert, but I had not seen the Maysles' other Christo & Jeanne Claude films.

    [The festival press release.] The historic Vogue Theater in San Francisco in association with David L. Brown Productions and Maysles Films present the Albert Maysles Memorial Film Festival at the Vogue Theater, 3290 Sacramento St. in San Francisco, May 8-14. Screening 16 documentaries (shot and directed by Albert Maysles, many with his brother, David – the Maysles Brothers), the Festival honors the legendary documentary filmmaking pioneer who passed away from cancer on March 5th at age 88, with a first-of-its-kind documentary retrospective. Tickets are available at the Vogue Theater box office and at Tickets are $12.50, $10 for students and seniors.

    The Festival opens on Friday, May 8th with the Direct Cinema classic, Salesman, along with Meet Marlon Brando. The program on Saturday, May 9 th will feature Gimme Shelter, the 1969 Rolling Stones tour that ended tragically at the Stones’ free concert at Altamont, and Running Fence, on the planning and creation of grand-scale-artist Christo’s epic 26-mile white nylon fence in Sonoma County. The Festival features four other documentaries on Christo’s epic-scale art pieces, the Academy Award-nominated Christo’s Valley Curtain , The Gates (the 20-years-in-the-making project in Central Park), screening Sunday, May 10th, and Islands and Umbrellas, screening Tuesday, May 12 th.

    D. A. Pennebaker, Maysles’ fellow Direct Cinema pioneer at Drew Associates, (Primary, Dont Look Back) will participate in a conversational remembrance of Maysles via Skype on opening night, May 8th at 6:15 p.m. Pennebaker will discuss collaborating with Maysles over 54 years including shooting a recent documentary that is currently in post-production. The Saturday May 9th screenings of Gimme Shelter and Running Fence will include Questions and Answers with distinguished guest filmmakers who worked with Mr. Maysles: Stephen Lighthill (cinematographer on both Gimme Shelter and Running Fence) and Joan Churchill (cinematographer on Gimme Shelter). The Sunday, May 10th screening of The Gates will include Q and A with Jon Else, acclaimed Bay Area cinematographer and Academy Award nominee (for The Day After Trinity). Long-time co-director with Maysles, Susan Froemke, will also participate via Skype on Wednesday, May 13th. With Maysles, she co-directed Grey Gardens and the Oscar-nominated Lalee’s Kin, along with ten other Maysles Films.

    A special addition to the Festival is Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!, the seldom-seen Maysles documentary on the 1969 Rolling Stones performance at Madison Square Garden. The rousing half-hour film will screen on Saturday, May 9th and Thursday, May 14th. The Festival will include multiple video messages or Skype Q and A from filmmakers who worked with Albert Maysles (and his brother), including Bill Jersey (cinematographer on Showman, who gave Maysles his first industrial job as cinematographer). Additional invited guest filmmakers include: Maysles’ son, Philip; cinematographer on Gimme Shelter, George Lucas; and Mayles protégé and two-time Oscar winner, Barbara Kopple.

    David L. Brown. The Festival was conceived, produced and curated by Brisbane documentary filmmaker, David L. Brown, who met Maysles in 2007. Brown filmed a two-hour interview with him for a Les Blank film on Direct Cinema pioneer, Richard Leacock, another early close collaborator and long-time friend of Maysles at Drew Associates, the birthplace of Direct Cinema. Brown wrote an article on Albert Maysles, the Maysles Brothers and their films for CineSource Magazine that Maysles described as "the best ever written about me." (available on request) The co-curator of the Festival is Adam Bergeron, programmer-operator of the Vogue Theater and owner-programmer of the Balboa Theater in San Francisco. I'll provide some previews and comments here.

    Brown is a three-time Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has produced, written and directed over 80 productions and 14 broadcast documentaries on a variety of issues and topics. His documentaries have received over 85 international awards and have been broadcast on PBS and in sixteen countries. Surfing for Life, his documentary on older surfers as models for healthy aging, was described by Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, as "a treasure, perhaps the most intelligent treatment of surfing ever captured on film." His documentary on the long, troubled history of the new east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, The Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story, won two Northern California Emmys including Best Documentary. Brown has produced three film festivals on nuclear, environmental, peace and justice issues. He teaches Documentary Filmmaking at City College of San Francisco where, for 16 years, he has curated a documentary film series.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-07-2015 at 11:57 PM.


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