Under the Influence of Albert Maysles: Approaching the Elephant

Sunday, December 6th, 4:00pm

Approaching the Elephant


Albert Maysles: A Festival and Celebration


Friday, December 4th-Sunday, December 6th we celebrate the life, birthday, and legacy of late, great documentarian and founder of the Maysles Documentary Center, Albert Maysles — November 26th, 1926 – March 5th, 2015 — with a sneak peek at his final masterwork, In Transit, as well as a look at some of the films and filmmakers under his influence. All proceeds from this festival will be donated back to the Maysles Documentary Center.

Amanda Rose Wilder, 2014, 89 min
Amanda Rose Wilder’s acclaimed feature debut dives head first into the inaugural year of the Teddy McArdle Free School in New Jersey, where all classes are voluntary and rules are determined by vote – adults and children have equal say. Wilder is there from the beginning to end of the school year, documenting and observing Alex Khost and an indelible cast of outspoken young personalities as they form relationships, explore their surroundings and intensely debate rule violations, until it all comes to a head. Evoking the immersive nonfiction styles of Albert Maysles, Frederick Wiseman and Allan King, with camerawork compared to Cassavettes' Faces and Lubtchansky under Garrel, while at the same time shepherding in a distinct new cinematic voice, Approaching the Elephant is a rare, inspired portrait of unfettered childhood and human relationships.

"When I saw Gimme Shelter for the first time I thought, 'I want to make films like that.' When I met Al for the first time I said to him, 'I'm a little starstruck.' He replied, 'I get starstruck looking up at the stars.' When I showed a rough cut clip from Approaching the Elephant at a Maysles Films intern screening (when I was an intern at Maysles Films), Al said, 'Did I shoot that?' Al touched people. He made it all possible: trust, love, opening up. He held people's hands. He looked you deeply in the eyes. He filmed without judgement or cynicism. He remains a huge influence on my filmmaking and my life." -- Amanda Rose Wilder

Q&A with director Amanda Rose Wilder and the founder of the Teddy McArdle Free School, Alexander Khost, to follow screening.

“Superb…astonishingly nuanced and intimate…a tour de force.”
-- The New Yorker

“One of the finest documentaries in recent memory.”
-- BlackBook

Winner of Maysles Brothers Award at Belfast Film Festival, 2014

Winner of Emerging Cinematic Vision Award - Camden Int. Film Festival, 2014

Nominated for Best Debut Feature Cinema Eye Honors, 2015

Nominated for 2015 Film Independent Spirit Award, Truer Than Fiction Award, 2015