Maysles Institute- Press Profile

2010 Union Square Arts Award Recipient

343 Lenox Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Media Contact: Jason Fox, Director of Operations
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“Maysles Institute (the Institute) is committed to using film to intervene in the lives of those excluded from the making process by providing training and apprenticeships and by projects filming groups without a voice.”  The Maysles Institute extends the work of Albert and David Maysles, brothers and well-known documentary filmmakers, who believe that the lives and opinions of everyday people not only deserve but demand attention.

The 75-seat cinema opened its doors in 2008 as an independent film house in northern Manhattan regularly screening films by “the African-American, African, Caribbean and other world communities.” Dedicated to the exhibition of documentary films, it provides programming and panel discussions at least four nights each week and serves as a site for community-based, low-cost popular education and entertainment.

Drawing on Harlem’s rich history of cultural innovation and political agency, the Cinema provides a unique space for passionate and interactive exploration of topics based on community interest. Breaking down the wall of disengagement found in the traditional film-going experience, its presentations and series explode with life, reckoning and celebration. In addition to presenting the masterworks of the documentary tradition, overlooked or under-distributed gems and new releases, the Cinema builds a space for meaningful social exchange and offers a forum for discussion on questions of social, racial, and economic justice.

The Institute also offers diverse, year-round educational programming for young people and adults from the Harlem, Northern Manhattan and South Bronx communities. Programs take place at the Maysles Cinema and in Harlem public schools. They emphasize community storytelling and provide training in camera skills, lighting techniques, and non-linear post-production. The Institute strives to integrate the production, presentation and pedagogy of documentary film and video as a means of engaging individuals and communities in creative self-expression, communicating ideas, and advocating needs.

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