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Handheld and From the Heart

Film Synopsis

Handheld and from the Heart will be a self-portrait of legendary documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Albert Maysles in his own words and images, celebrating his 50th anniversary in filmmaking.

A sample of the people Albert Maysles would interview in conversation or would show in film clips might include: Marlon Brando, Orson Welles, Vladimir Horowitz, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Truman Capote, filmmakers Richard Leacock, DA Pennebaker, Robert Drew, Nell Cox, Haskell Wexler, Martin Scorsese, Barbara Kopple, Robert Duvall, Jim Jarmusch, Jane Campion, Charlotte Zwerin, Susan Froemke, Antonio Ferrera, artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, correspondent William Worthy, photographer Bruce Davidson, actress/director Shivaun O’Casey, writer Mark Mirsky, Albert’s mother Ethyl, his brother David, his son Philip, a filmmaker and visual artist, as well as family and friends.

A mixture of film clips and interviews would illustrate challenges and issues in Albert Maysles’ development as a filmmaker. For example: When psychologist Maysles arrived in cold-war Soviet Union in 1955, carrying a camera on loan from CBS, he met his first filmmaking mentor, African American correspondent William Worthy who introduced him to the Russian leadership and thus made possible his first film Psychiatry in Russia. Film clips will be shown from Albert’s psychiatry film as well as unshown footage he shot in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Footage and outtakes would be selected from the scores of documentaries Albert and David made or contributed to, including Primary, Monterey Pop, What’s Happening! The Beatles in the USA, Salesman, Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter, the Christo Projects, Horowitz Plays Mozart as well as more recent films such as, Abortion: Desperate Choices, Lalee’s Kin also made with Susan Froemke and current works with Maysles’ most recent collaborator Antonio Ferrera: The Gates, and The Dalai Lama in New York.

The portrait will be 60 minutes long and will be produced in PAL using the Sony PD 170 PAL camera whose footage will be smoothly integrated with 16mm film footage. Currently in pre-production, Maysles Films plans to complete the self-portrait the winter of 2005, in time to celebrate Albert Maysles’ 50th anniversary in filmmaking.