Every year, the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem hosts the Albie Awards, a prestigious event that recognizes and celebrates the groundbreaking work of filmmakers who defy categorization and pave the way for the future of documentary storytelling. This annual occasion brings together a remarkable group of honorees, vice chairs, and dinner hosts who are radical, innovative thinkers and artists, inspiring not only the present but also future generations through their engaging work and unwavering commitment to social justice and nonfiction storytelling.

The Albie Awards, which serves as the Maysles Documentary Center’s biggest fundraiser of the year, is much more than a glamorous evening. It’s a moment to reflect on the past achievements of documentary filmmaking and look ahead to the future of this ever-evolving art form. It’s an opportunity for the MDC community to gather, connect, and celebrate the premier documentary filmmakers in the heart of Harlem, all while bringing to life the work that independent filmmakers do in their creative self-expression.

The 2023 Albie Awards held a special focus on filmmaking partnerships and works with international roots, promising a superb lineup of honorees and an unforgettable evening. Let’s take a closer look at the remarkable individuals and partnerships that were honored during this year’s Albie Awards:


  • Bethann Hardison & Frédéric Tcheng: Bethann Hardison, a model, agent, and activist, was awarded for her work on the documentary “Invisible Beauty,” which chronicles her fight for diversity and equality in the modeling industry. Her co-director, Frédéric Tcheng, also received recognition for their remarkable collaboration.
  • Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster: The co-directors of “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project,” Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster, were honored for their contributions to documentary storytelling.
  • Claire Simon: Another distinguished honoree who undoubtedly added to the evening’s prestige.

The event was organized and supported by a dedicated team, including the chairs, co-chairs, and host committee:


  • Jennifer Ash Rudick
  • Laura Coxson
  • Rebekah Maysles
  • Cameron Yates


  • Bronwyn Cosgrave & John Sloss
  • Beth Earl
  • Perri Peltz

Host Committee:

  • Andrea van Beuren
  • Sara Driver
  • Rachael Horovitz
  • Jenny Raskin


The Albie Awards evening was a well-rounded affair with various segments that kept the attendees entertained:

  • 6:30 pm – Cocktails and Hors D’Oeuvres: The event kicked off with a delightful cocktail hour where guests mingled and networked.
  • 7:00 pm – Dinner and Award Ceremony: The main event featured a sumptuous dinner and the award ceremony where the honorees were celebrated for their remarkable contributions to the world of documentary filmmaking. The event featured a special tribute video from Drag Race SuperStar, Jinkx Monsoon.
  • 9:00 pm – After-Party: The celebration continued with an after-party featuring DJ Stormin’ Norman, offering an opportunity for guests to dance, enjoy drinks, and revel in the festive atmosphere.


The Albie Awards, as an essential fundraising event for the Maysles Documentary Center, plays a pivotal role in supporting the Center’s mission. It is more than a gala; it’s a platform to champion the art of documentary filmmaking and the voices of filmmakers who often represent marginalized or underrepresented communities.

This year’s Albie Awards was particularly significant as it focused on fostering empathetic and ethical documentary practices. Priority was given to emerging artists, especially those who have historically been denied access to the industry, including individuals who identify as Black/Brown, queer/gender non-conforming, low-income, indigenous, and disabled, as well as local talents.

The recognition bestowed upon Bethann Hardison, Frédéric Tcheng, Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, and Claire Simon at the 2023 Albie Awards highlights the importance of diversity and innovation in the world of documentary filmmaking. These individuals and partnerships have made significant contributions to the art form, inspiring not only those within the industry but also the wider community.

The Albie Awards at the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem are more than just an evening of glitz and glamour. They are a celebration of storytelling that transcends boundaries and a commitment to justice, diversity, and the future of nonfiction filmmaking. As we look forward to the next Albie Awards, we can only anticipate the incredible talent and innovation it will continue to showcase.


Photo Courtesy of John Mazlish and KWM