Conversation: Filmmaker Albert Maysles

BY Arts Desk  June 19, 2009 at 10:57 AM EDT

Albert Maysles has spent much of his life behind a camera catching intimate glimpses of the lives of others: politicians, rock stars, heavyweight champions, travelling salesmen, eccentric society mavens and everyday people. A pioneer in the American “direct cinema” movement, he and his brother David helped create and define documentary style as the genre exploded in the 1960s and ’70s through to today.

With more than 60 works, including ‘Salesman’ (1968), ‘Gimme Shelter’ (1970) and ‘Grey Gardens’ (1975), his contributions are now being honored at the SILVERDOCS film festival, where he received the Charles Guggenheim Symposium award for his career in the field of documentary filmmaking.

Albert Maysles joined me on the phone from New York:

 

Below are trailers for “Salesman,” “Gimme Shelter” and “Grey Gardens”: