The Schomburg Center and Maysles Cinema Present James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket

Event Details

Back in 1989, the 16mm version of James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket received stellar reviews and awards. Honored at  festivals across the world– including Sundance, London, Berlin and Tokyo – the film was hailed by publications such as Variety Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Now considered a documentary film classic, the original Baldwin film has been restored and re-mastered in 2K HD with the help of the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts in honor of James Baldwin’s 90th birthday. An emotional portrait, social critique, and a passionate plea for human equality, this film is a vérité feast. Sans narration, the film allows Baldwin to tell his own story: exploring what it means to be born black, impoverished, gay and gifted – in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.” Intercutting rarely-seen archival footage from over one hundred sources and nine different countries, the film melds intimate interviews and eloquent public speeches with astounding private glimpses of Baldwin.

This is the first time the film is being shown at the Schomburg since 1989 (when  Baldwin's grandmother was in attendance!), and the first time time the remastered version has been shown in Harlem ever. 

The film also includes a rich selection of original footage: scenes from Baldwin’s extraordinary funeral service; explorations of Baldwin’s homes on three continents, including France, Switzerland,Turkey and Harlem; plus on-camera interviews with close friends, colleagues and critics. Witnesses include his brother David; biographer David Leeming; writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, William Styron, Ishmael Reed and Yashar Kemal; painter Lucien Happersberger and entertainer Bobby Short.

A Nobody Knows / DKDmedia / Maysles Films / American Masters Presentation of
A Karen Thorsen, Produced by William Miles & Karen Thorsen, Co-Produced by Douglas K. Dempsey, Executive Producers Albert Maysles & Susan Lacy

A Q&A with director Karen Thorsen, James Baldwin's niece Aisha Karefa-Smart, and his nephew Trevor Baldwin will follow the screening. 

Watch the trailer

This program is co-sponsored by Maysles Cinema.

@SchomburgCenter | #PriceoftheTicket


For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. All registered seats are released 15 to 30 minutes before start time, so we recommend that you arrive early.

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Adenike Olanrewaju at

Please note that professional photography and video recordings are prohibited without expressed consent.