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.

Called the "premier showcase for documentary films" by the Hollywood Reporter, the American Film Institute SILVERDOCS festival brings a full slate of documentary films and the International Documentary Conference to Silver Spring, Md.

Across the country, resurgent interest in things handmade is redefining craft-making for the 21st century. Quilts are cutting-edge outlets for self-expression, and samplers carry messages of anti-consumerism, environmentalism and feminism.

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