Two of America's foremost non-fiction filmmakers, Albert Maysles and his brother David (1932-1987) are recognized as pioneers of "direct cinema," the distinctly American version of French "cinema verité." They earned their distinguished reputations by being the first to make non-fiction feature films - films in which the drama of human life unfolds as is, without scripts, sets, or narration.
Albert was made a Guggenheim Fellow in 1965. His next two films became cult classics. GIMME SHELTER (1970) is the dazzling portrait of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones on their American tour, which culminated in a killing at the notorious concert at Altamont. GREY GARDENS (1976) captures on film the haunting relationship of the Beales, a mother and daughter living secluded in a decaying East Hampton mansion. These films, like SALESMAN, were released theatrically to great acclaim.
In 1994, the International Documentary Association presented Albert with their Career Achievement Award. He has received S.M.P.T.E.’s 1997 John Grierson Award for Documentary, the American Society of Cinematographers’ 1998 President’s Award - given for the first time to a documentarian, the Boston Film and Video Foundation’s 1998 Vision Award, Toronto's Hot Docs 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1999 Flaherty Award, the Thessaloniki 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award and the Sundance Film Festival 2001 Cinematography Award for Documentaries (LALEE'S KIN: THE LEGACY OF COTTON).
In 1999 Eastman Kodak saluted Albert as one of the 100 world's finest cinematographers.