Best Combination Movie Theater, Archive, and Community Center - 2009
In 2005, cinema vérité godfather Albert Maysles founded (with his son, Philip) Harlem's Maysles Institute, charging his fledgling organization with the task of teaching documentary filmmaking to community youth. In 2008, the organization finished work on a movie theater, making it Manhattan's northernmost repertory cinema. Since then, the Institute has programmed everything from "Country Rap Tunes," a Texas/Louisiana hip-hop documentary festival of overwhelmingly complete proportions, to the defiantly self-explanatory "Homo Harlem." Admission is pegged at a suggested $10, the theater has a maximum seating of 60, and directors are a frequent presence at their own screenings. At the organization's heart is the principle that the Maysles brothers have been advancing for decades, which is that regular folks—the occasional Gimme Shelter excepted—are as attention-worthy as anyone else. In a context as elegantly democratic as this one, they usually are.