The partnership of brothers David and Albert Maysles yielded classic documentaries like Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, and Salesman. Two decades after David’s 1987 death, it’s also produced a family feud. Celia Maysles, David’s 28-year-old daughter, debuted a documentary about her late father at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam last month. Wild Blue Yonder, which takes its name from a film David was working on independently when he died, shows that Albert (who controls the Maysles Films library) denied her access to the brothers’ archives. I think, from bits of conversation that we’ve had before, you have some kind of a misunderstanding, he tells Celia on camera. Why the animosity? Because Albert is working on his own autobiographical project. We may have a problem with that competing with mine, he says in Celia’s film, which ultimately used short fair-use clips from the brothers’ films. I’m not happy Al did what he did, Celia says. But at the same time, it made my film better. And that would make my dad proud.
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