THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF TELEVISION
ARTS & SCIENCES
TO HONOR DOCUMENTARIAN FREDERICK WISEMAN
WITH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
AT THE NEWS & DOCUMENTARY EMMY® AWARDS, SEPT 27
New York, N.Y. – July 8, 2010 –Frederick Wiseman, one of the most accomplished documentarians in the history of the medium, will receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) at the 31st Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards. The award will be presented on September 27, 2010 at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, located in the Time Warner Center in New York City.
In a career spanning almost half a century, Frederick Wiseman has produced, directed and edited 38 films. His documentaries comprise a chronicle of American life unmatched by perhaps any other filmmaker. He has turned his lens—and the formidable social and cinematic intelligence behind it—on such subjects as the U.S. military (Basic Training, Manoeuvre), state politics (State Legislature), the social welfare system (Welfare, Public Housing), animal research (Primate), commerce (The Store), end-of-life care (Near Death), sport (Boxing Gym), the fine arts (Ballet, La Danse), and countless other subjects. All of Wiseman’s films have aired on PBS, one of his primary funders. Most recently, La Danse aired on the network in June of 2010. Wiseman’s films are distributed by his own Cambridge, Massachusetts-based production company, Zipporah Films.
Wiseman is considered a pioneer of the so-called “direct” or “observational” cinema, a label he quibbles with due to the implication that such films provide a transparent window on reality. Wiseman has described his films as “biased, prejudiced, condensed, but fair.” While Wiseman’s documentaries are based on completely un-staged events and contain no interviews or voiceover narration, they are less an objective portrait of reality than an accurate portrayal of the filmmaker’s interpretation of the subject, tempered by a deeply held obligation to be fair to the people who pass before his camera. Wiseman typically does little research before shooting, describing the shooting as the research and the finished film as a report on what he has learned. In between lies up to a year of rigorous and painstaking editing, resulting in documentaries that are equal to the best fiction films.
Wiseman’s films typically focus on institutions, analyzing their inner workings and dramatizing the conflicts and dilemmas that arise in the course of carrying out their mission. But Wiseman’s focus is less the institutions themselves than the people who inhabit and encounter them: the social workers and the abuse victims they seek to aid in Domestic Violence; the inmates at the Bridgewater Prison for the Criminally Insane and the doctors and guards who treat them with both cruelty and kindness in Titicut Follies; the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet who undergo rigorous discipline in order to practice their craft at the highest level in La Danse. Wiseman’s films portray the complicated reality of essential institutions, and dramatize how they both succeed and fail to live up to their animating ideals.
Frederick Wiseman has received numerous awards over the course of his career, including three Emmys, Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships, The George Polk Career Award (2006) for “contributions to journalistic integrity and investigative reporting,” and the Dan David Prize (2003) “for achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world.”
About The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Award for News & Documentary, Sports, Daytime Entertainment, Daytime Creative Arts & Entertainment, Public & Community Service, Technology & Engineering, and Business & Financial Reporting. Regional Emmy® Awards are given in 19 regions across the United States. NATAS also presents the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Global Media Awards™ which recognizes excellence in the world-wide intersection of digital entertainment and technology. Emmy® Awards given out for primetime programming are presented by our sister organization, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Beyond awards, NATAS has extensive educational programs including National Student Television and its Student Award for Excellence for outstanding journalistic work by high school students, as well as scholarships, publications, and major activities for both industry professionals and the viewing public. For more information, please visit the website at www.emmyonline.tv
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For Press information, contact:
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