Frederick Wiseman (CBA ’14) has made 39 documentaries and 2 fiction films. Among his documentaries are Titicut Follies, Welfare, Public Housing, Near Death, La Comédie Française ou l’Amour Joué, La Danse—Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, At Berkeley,and National Gallery. His documentaries are dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray the joy, sadness, comedy, and tragedy of ordinary experience. He has won numerous awards including four Emmys, a MacArthur fellowship, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Lion D’Or Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Venice Film Festival. His films have played in theatres and been broadcast on television in many countries. He is also a theatre director and has directed The Last Letter, based on a chapter of Vasily Grossman’s novel Life and Fate, and Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Comédie Française. He is an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Titicut Follies, The Ballet
At The Center, Wiseman began work with choreographer James Sewell and composer Lenny Pickett on a ballet based on Wiseman’s documentary, Titicut Follies. Together they worked on their adaptation and experimented with choreography with members of The James Sewell Ballet in Minneapolis. Wiseman, Sewell, and Pickett planned to work on the ballet over twenty-one months.The piece premiered in Minneapolis and was later presented at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in April 2017.