Still from the film Gray Gardens

Grey Gardens (1975), directed by Albert and David Maysles © Portrait Films, courtesy of Portrait Films/Photofest


Skirball Movie Group: Documentary Masters and Their Masterworks

Online Class

Tuesdays, October 18, November 1, 15, and 29, 7:30–9:00 pm (PT)

About the Program

Maysles, Kopple, Morris, Gibney: In the hands of these cinema icons, the genre of documentary filmmaking evolved from the limited purviews of education, propaganda, and zoology into a powerful, artistic, and entertaining force that impacts society, culture, and politics.

Participants of this fifth installment of the Skirball's movie group will meet to discuss these extraordinary filmmakers and their most notable works. Topics for discussion will include camera techniques, production design, objectivity versus manipulation, and the impact that these artists' most notable films had on society and the craft of filmmaking.

Featured in our discussion will be:

  • Albert and David Maysles, who have collaboratively directed thirty films, including such landmarks as Salesman, Gimme Shelter, and Grey Gardens.
  • Barbara Kopple, who won Academy Awards for Harlan County, USA, about a Kentucky miner's strike, and for American Dream, the story of the 1985–86 Hormel strike in Austin, Minnesota.
  • Errol Morris, who brought visually brilliant and provocative stylistic elements to documentary films, such as The Thin Blue Line and the Academy Award–winning The Fog of War.
  • Alex Gibney, who chronicled the downfalls of Theranos and Enron, lifted the veil on Scientology, and documented the trials and travails of Julian Assange.

Facilitator: Theodore Rand has led previous film discussion groups at the Skirball on the films of Billy Wilder, the Coen Brothers, and Wes Anderson, among others. He is a graduate of New York University and has held technology innovation positions at Miramax, Yahoo! Media Group, Fox Networks, and the Walt Disney Company.