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Filming portraits of interesting Americans


Filming in Turkey and swimming the Hellespont
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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Between "Psychiatry in Russia" and my experience with Drew, Pennebaker and Leacock in "Primary", I know that at least one film I helped to make; a film of the travels of St Paul through Turkey and Greece. I was the cameraman on that. And when we got finished filming in Turkey, including places like Tarsus where St Paul was born and also going out and filming all the way East of Mount Ararat, a tourist promoting film that we made for the Turkish Government, I thought- in sort of some kind of crazy romantic way it would be interesting, exciting, to swim the Hellespont the way Lord Byron had done centuries before. And so when we got to Canakkale on the North West Coast of Turkey I jumped into the water and- in no way a skilful swimmer but a very determined one- I swam the Hellespont and Charlie Sharp, the guy that I was working with, he handled the camera from a rowboat with a Naval Officer from the Turkish Government and filmed me.

Albert Maysles (1926-2015) known for his important documentaries on Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, pioneered the documentary style known as Direct Cinema. He helped create techniques still widely used in modern documentary production, as well as many of the techniques used in reality TV.

Listeners: Rebekah Maysles Tamara Tracz Sara Maysles

Rebekah Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is an artist living between New York and Philadelphia. She has her own line of clothing, Blackberryrose, and co-runs the store Sodafine in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, a vintage and handmade store that sells clothing, books and other products made by artists.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Sara Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is currently doing her BA in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, and working as an Archivist of the photographs and photographic material at Maysles Films Inc., Albert‚s film production company. She spent ten months out of two years working with Tibetan refugees at a center in Nepal, and continues to travel back and forth between America and Asia.

Tags: Psychiatry in Russia, Primary, Turkey, Greece, Tarsus, Hellespont, Çanakkale, Richard Leacock, Robert Drew, D A Pennebaker, Lord Byron, Charlie Sharp

Duration: 1 minute, 38 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008