Laureates 2003

2003 Present - Print & Electronic Media

Frederick Wiseman

wisemanFrederick Wiseman is widely acclaimed as the most important person ever to lift a camera for documentary filmmaking. His first film, 1967's Titicut Follies, remade the whole genre of nonfiction film, introducing path-breaking innovations such as the lack of a narrator, a spare and honest cinematography and a narrative line that resembled a Hollywood film in its dramatic development, even though the story was entirely true. He has influenced thousands of film directors and producers.

If the artist's gift for storytelling is what brings viewers into his films and keeps them there, what devastates them is the fact that what they are watching is true. In 32 nonfiction films, Wiseman has tackled subjects such as education for the disabled, the view of America from abroad, and most notable, the criminal justice system. Two of his films, High School, and Welfare, have been designated National Treasures by the U.S. Library of Congress.

In all of his work, Wiseman makes us reckon with our emotions, the cost to society of marginalizing those who cannot speak for themselves.

Fredereck Wiseman received his B.A. from Williams College and his LL.B. from Yale Law School. He holds many honorary doctorates and fellowships, among them from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Wiseman has received numerous awards, including the following: the Mannheim International Film Week, the Emy Award, the USA Film Festival, the Peabody Award, The Berlin International Film Festival, and the HOT DOCS award.