50 Years a Documentary Filmmaker: A Chat with Frederick Wiseman

15. February 2018

How does Frederick Wiseman manage to capture an almost unobserved view of his protagonists? And where does he get the energy from to make a film a year? The director offers several dry-humoured answers during his ZFF Masters session. His most recent film EX LIBRIS – THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY hits cinemas in German-speaking Switzerland.

Frederick Wiseman, better known as the 'Master of Documentary Film', has tirelessly shot one film after the other for the past 50 years. During his last visit to the ZFF, Wiseman discussed how he went from lawyer to filmmaker and what drives him to continue making films today.

The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue is much more than just a place for the storage of books. As an active forum of democracy and an institution of social and cultural encounters, it is the place where numerous strands of society intertwine: from lectures on computers and Braille courses, to school lessons and job and accommodation services, the library houses hundreds of schemes for thousands of people. Extraordinary documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes the audience behind the scenes and points his camera at the people who continually redefine the world’s largest library on a daily basis. Offering unique and comprehensive insight, he observes how this institute of the printed word adapts to the digital world without forfeiting its traditional role.