Remembering Ellen Hovde

July 13, 2023

Dear NYWIFT Community,

NYWIFT mourns the loss of Ellen Hovde who, it was just announced, passed away on February 16 at the age of 97. She was one of the directors behind the acclaimed 1975 documentary Grey Gardens, along with the Maysles brothers, which spawned a Broadway musical, HBO film, and a cult following. The film was a close-up and often uncomfortable look at the lives of a reclusive mother and daughter, relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onasis, living in a crumbling mansion in East Hampton. (If you haven’t watched it yet… watch it now, available on Max!)

Ellen Hovde (Photo credit Marianne Barcellona / from


Her collaboration with Albert and David Maysles was extensive. She was a contributing editor on 1969’s Salesman and editor on their Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter, among other credits. Hovde was then credited as a director, along with the Maysles, on Christo’s Valley Curtain, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short in 1974. She would later go on to direct the Emmy Award-winning miniseries Benjamin Franklin.

A pioneer for women behind the camera, Ellen was also one of the very first members of New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), when it began as an informal gathering of women looking to make positive change in our industry.

“Ellen Hovde was one of the original members of NY Women in Film, which started in 1977. Always involved, always a model of professionalism in what was then a very young field for women. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest … good colleague,” said NYWIFT co-founder Marilyn Casselman.

You can read more about Ellen Hovde’s incredible legacy in her recent New York Times obituary.

Thank you, Ellen, for your creative contributions and spirit.



Cynthia Lopez
CEO | Executive Director
New York Women in Film & Television