The Maysles Institute is dedicated to the exhibition and production of documentary films that inspire dialogue and action. Through cinema and education programs the Institute engages diverse communities in creative self-expression, communication, and advocacy. The Maysles Cinema is committed to a democratic experience, in which filmmakers are asked to attend the screenings of their work, and audiences have the opportunity to actively engage the films and each other in post-screening forums.
The cinema encourages the participation of local social and cultural organizations and citizen-activists in programming decisions in order to deepen community involvement and provide exposure for under-represented social issues and overlooked artists. Through its Media in Action education programs, the Institute offers diverse, year-round programming for youth and adults in Harlem, Northern Manhattan and South Bronx communities. The goal of this program is to enhance community storytelling and civic engagement by providing residents with specialized knowledge in documentary filmmaking and the technical tools they need to succeed.
Grants from the Cultures of Resistance Network in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 supported the Maysles Cinema's "Congo in Harlem," an annual series of film screenings, panel discussions, and performances that offered opportunities for audiences to discover Congolese culture, learn about the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and get involved.