Mission Statement

The Maysles Documentary Center, a not for profit organization, is dedicated to the exhibition and production of documentary films that inspire dialogue and action. Through our cinema and education programs we engage diverse communities in creative self-expression, communicating ideas and advocating needs.


      MDC was founded by legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles (1926-2015)         in 2005. He and wife Gillian Walker chose Harlem to contribute to this       community's rich cultural history and aid in the facilitation of what is         taken for granted below 96th street: consistent access to documentary       films and conversation with filmmakers, the act of filmmaking, and             engaging with films to make a difference. A 2013 recipient of the                   National Medal of Arts, among many other honors, Albert, along with           brother David, was an early creator of direct cinema and among the             first to capture life as it unfolded before their camera, without scripts,       sets, or narration. 

      MDC's mission began with a summer education program for youth               whose parents were incarcerated to encourage creative self-                         expression, holistic youth development and community building.                 Today, our low-or no-cost education programs range from film literacy       classes for children, filmmaking for high school students, intro and             advanced filmmaking and editing for adults, and a cinema management       job training program for Harlem residents. Maysles Cinema, at the              MDC, is the only independent film house north of Lincoln Center               devoted exclusively to documentary programming.