We are very sad to hear of the passing of Legendary Documentary Filmmaker Albert Maysles. We’d like to share our story of when we met Albert in 2008 at the Dallas Video Festival.

Albert Maysles and Angela Walley, 2008 #WalleyFilms
Albert Maysles and Angela Walley

Our short film Picturesque Joel was an official selection of the festival, but we were really there because we knew Albert would be there. We had fallen in love with Salesman and Grey Gardens, and we were particularly interested in Maysles Films’ series following artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. We made the trip to Dallas and were thrilled to attend our first Film Festival wearing “Filmmaker Badges”.

Albert Maysles, 2008 #WalleyFilms
Albert Maysles at the Dallas Video Festival, 2008

Albert Maysles, 2008 #WalleyFilms
Albert Maysles graciously signs a Grey Garden’s Film Poster

Our badges gave us access to the Filmmakers Lounge, which we nervously attended. We found Festival Director Bart Weiss and told him what big fans we were of Albert. He told us that Albert was very approachable, so we should just introduce ourselves. There were several other Filmmakers waiting to take photos and talk with Albert.

Albert Maysles and Angela Walley, 2008 #WalleyFilms
A conversation with Albert Maysles

Albert Maysles' Socks, 2008 #WalleyFilms
Albert Maysles’ Yellow Socks

He was very kind and gracious with each encounter. He gave everyone his full attention and even flirted a little with a young woman who revealed her love for Grey Gardens. When we had a chance to talk with Albert he remarked to us, “Documentary, that’s the way to go”. At the time we were making narrative and experimental short films, but documentary would soon become our genre of choice.

Running Fence, Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Running Fence

Dallas Video Festival screened Running Fence, with a brief introduction by Albert and Bart. Mark remembers the way Albert described working with Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Albert had such a deep love and respect for the subjects he followed, which we would later emulate in our own work.

Albert Maysles and Angela Walley #WalleyFilms
Albert Maysles and Angela Walley

Things began to fall into place for us as we continued our early film work. We didn’t make the connection immediately, but when we reflected on it we realized that with just a few words Albert had helped us fuse our love for Contemporary Art and Storytelling.

Albert Maysles and Mark Walley, 2008 #WalleyFilms
Albert Maysles and Mark Walley

Jimmy Kuehnle Documentary #WalleyFilms
Still from our film Jimmy Kuehnle’s Big Red and Walking Fish, 2009

The following year we attended the festival with the hopes of meeting Albert again. Our short documentary Big Red and Walking Fish following performance artist Jimmy Kuehnle was an official selection and we’d hoped to tell Albert how big of an influence he had been for us. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to make it that year, and we never had a chance to tell him how important meeting him was for the course of our work as filmmakers.

Albert and David Maysles
Albert and David Maysles

Now seven years later, we have produced over thirty short documentary films and are currently in production on our most ambitious documentary film to date. When we married in 2010 and formed our production company, the name “Walley Films” was in homage to “Maysles Films” and the dynamic duo relationship Albert shared with his brother David. There have been many influences in our work, but it all started with Albert Maysles.

Albert Maysles, 2008 #WalleyFilms
Albert Maysles, November 26, 1926 – March 5, 2015

As a documentarian I happily place my fate and faith in reality. It is my caretaker, the provider of subjects, themes, experiences – all endowed with the power of truth and the romance of discovery. And the closer I adhere to reality the more honest and authentic my tales. After all, the knowledge of the real world is exactly what we need to better understand and therefore possibly to love one another. It’s my way of making the world a better place.

– Albert Maysles

We want to say thank you to Albert. Thank you for your incredible work and for your kindness.

Mark and Angela

It’s New Year’s Eve, so we’re taking some time to look back at our Top Five Favorite Moments of 2014. We want to thank our family, friends, and fans for supporting our work. From January through December, here are our top five favorite moments from 2014, enjoy!

Walley POS-86 #WalleyFilms
1. Film Release: WALLEY POS-86 Promo Video
We produced this short parody promotional video as part of our art exhibition Creation to Consumption curated by Hills Snyder for the artist-run exhibition space, Sala Diaz. The film demonstrates the WALLEY POS-86, an impossible video camera that represents a reverse trend in consumer electronics. Since we released the film it has received over 323K views with features on Vimeo Staff Picks, Gizmodo,  No Film School, PetaPixel, Fstoppers, designboom, and Laughing Squid. Watch the film.

Dinh Q. Lê: Crossing the Farther Shore #WalleyFilms
2. Film Release: Dinh Q. Lê: Crossing the Farther Shore
In April we documented the exhibition Crossing the Farther Shore by acclaimed Vietnamese American artist Dinh Q. Lê at Rice University Art Gallery. Le presented thousands of photographs of Southern Vietnam taken before and during the Vietnam War. The hand-stitched structures allude to the mosquito nets under which people sleep in Vietnam, creating what Lê calls a “sleeping, dreaming memory of Vietnam.” Watch the film.

Pluck by Jennifer Ling Datchuk #WalleyFilms
3. Pluck, a video collaboration with artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk
From artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk:”‘He loves me, he loves me not’ was a game I played as a little girl. I would pluck flowers bare of its beautiful petals in hopes the last one spoken determined my hearts desired intentions. As an adult, I have allowed not only men to define my identity but that of my mixed race ethnicity and navigating the world as an ‘other’. In this performance piece, I pluck my eyebrows bare until my identity becomes almost erased. On view as part of the exhibition Dark and Lovely September 4, 2014 – November 9, 2014 at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center.” Watch the film. Learn more about Jennifer’s work at www.JenniferLingDatchuk.com.

Portrait of Chuck courtesy of Warren Borror
4. Tia Chuck Successfully Funded
Our documentary film following the life and work of artist Chuck Ramirez was successfully funded in October. It meant so much to us to have the support of the community for this film. We are currently in production and have plans to release the film in 2015. Visit www.TiaChuck.com for updates. Portrait of Chuck courtesy of Warren Borror.

Rueben Singleterry Documentary
5. Upcoming Film: Rueben Singleterry Documentary
Rueben Singleterry, the 14-year-old son of Angela’s cousin Roxanne. The first week of his freshman year, Rueben was diagnosed with a rare illness that almost took his life. He spent the last few months beating the odds to an almost full recovery. Rueben wanted us to document his story so he can help inspire others to never give up, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Part of Rueben’s desire to recover was so he could pursue his passion for playing basketball. We’ll be following Rueben’s journey and look forward to sharing his story with you. Visit www.WalleyFilms.com/Rueben-Singleterry for updates.

Happy New Year to you, we look forward to continuing our film work in 2015!


Behind the Scenes #TiaChuck

We’re currently in production on our documentary film Tía Chuck, following the life and work of artist Chuck Ramirez. Read our October Production Notes to learn more.