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L.A. film critics to honor Frederick Wiseman

October 06, 2012|By Susan King
  • Documentary film director Frederick Wiseman presented his 38th film, "Boxing Gym," at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010.
Documentary film director Frederick Wiseman presented his 38th film,… (Patricia Williams / For…)

The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. has named renowned documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman  the recipient of the group's career achievement award.

The 82-year-old Emmy-winning documentarian will receive the award at a ceremony Jan. 12 at the Intercontinental Hotel. Wiseman is the first documentary filmmaker to ever receive this honor, according to the critics group.

After being trained as an attorney, Wiseman turned to documentary filmmaking, first as a producer on 1964's "The Cool World," then as a director on the award-winning 1967 film "Titicut Follies," about the patient inmates at the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane in Massachusetts.

He is one of the pioneers of the observational, or cinema verite, style of documentary filmmaking. He favors long takes with no interviews or voice-overs. Some of his films are four to five hours long. 

Over the decades, Wiseman has made countless documentaries examining such social institutions in the U.S. as hospitals, schools, the police and public housing. Among his other well-known films are 1968's "High School," 1970's "Hospital," 1985's "Racetrack," 1991's "Central Park" and 2010's "Boxing Gym."  

The three-time Emmy winner's last film was 2011's "Crazy Horse,"  which looked at a Paris nightclub that boasts it has the most chic nude revue in the world. Earlier, Wiseman won Emmys for his films "Hospital" and "Law and Order."

LAFCA also announced on Saturday that its members will vote on their year-end film awards for the best of 2012 on Dec. 9.

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