NATAS to fete documentarian in September

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman will receive a lifetime achievement award at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ 31st News and Documentary Emmys in New York on Sept. 27.

Wiseman, 80, is “a true pioneer whose body of work comprises a chronicle of American life unmatched by perhaps any other filmmaker,” said kudofest director David Winn.

Wiseman began his studies of American institutions, their people and what they signify more than 40 years ago. He is credited with pioneering an interpretive style rooted in realism, with no staging, interviews or narration.

Among his 40 docus, he won Emmys for “Law and Order” (1969) and “Hospital” (1970).

The filmmaker’s latest work, “The Boxing Gym,” played in Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Variety reviewer Rob Nelson wrote, “The viewer learns an enormous amount from ‘Boxing Gym,’ but not in the conventional documentary manner. The film contains no interviews, unless one counts what the boxers and trainers say to one another; voiceovers and intertitles are likewise absent. In place of such tropes are images that put the audience in close contact with the boxers’ routines.”

Wiseman has won Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships, the 2006 George Polk Career Award for contributions to journalistic integrity and investigative reporting and the 2003 Dan David Prize for achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact.

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