Preeminent documentarist, director and writer Fredrick Wiseman, continues his celebrated career, which spans 51 years, with his latest feature documentary Monrovia, Indiana (2018).

Aimimage have worked with Wiseman and his production company Zipporah Films over the last 10 years, providing kit for the last few features from this remarkable filmmaker. We take a look back over his career and achievements to date.

Fredrick Wiseman began his career as a documentary filmmaker in 1967, with his first feature documentary Titicut Follies. From the outset he displayed a disciplined approach to recording life within American institutions and from the dynamics that emerge, building a unique portrait of American society.

Wiseman has explored a vast range of subject matter, from how cultural diversity challenges conservative white American values (In Jackson Heights, 2015), to how the impact of national politics shape communities, and even forensic look at the New York Public Library (2017).

Honorary Award recipient Frederick Wiseman accepts his award at the 2016 Governors Awards in The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, CA, on Saturday, November 12, 2016.

In recent years, Wiseman has turns his analytic gaze towards Europe, with films such as National Gallery (2014), and La danse (2009), filmed in London and Pairs respectively. We are extremely proud to have been part of Wiseman’s singular filmmaking process over the last decade.

 “… I’ve found that in so-called ordinary experience, there is as much comedy, tragedy, sadness, as there is in great drama. And I don’t invent it, I recognise it”.  – Fredrick Wiseman 

Over the last 10 years, Fredrick Wiseman and his regular cameraman John Davey have called on Aimimage to collaborate on their projects. Their most recent release, Monrovia, Indiana (2018), which takes a graphic and candid look at the aftermath of middle America following the 2016 Presidential Election, was shot on our Arri Amira with Zeiss super speed prime lenses and Angenieux Optimo and Fujinon Cabrio zoom lenses.

Since 2009, we have provided the equipment for Wiseman and Davey to create critically acclaimed films including La danse, which was shot on 16mm film, and Crazy Horse (2011) and At Berkeley (2013) which were shot on Panasonic VariCams. While we no longer provide this particular kit, it is wonderful to see them used to create these important films in Wiseman’s career. Davey shot on the Sony PMW-F55 for both In Jackson Heights and Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (2017).

Whilst Wiseman’s sharp eye for bold scenes that explore community life and human experience has not changed, over the years we have seen his subject matter evolve, and the camera technology he uses to capture it advance alongside it. And for Davey, while his penchant for various camera technology has evolved from the Varicam to the F55 to the Amira, he has stayed true to Zeiss super speed primes and Angenieux and Fujinon zoom lenses (though the attention to detail in Ex Libris was so acute; they also used a 100mm Arri macro lens).

Wiseman founded his production company in 1970 and since then has received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the prestigious 71st Venice International Film Festival in 2014. Prior to that he was honoured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, received The Golden Lion Award and both a Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowship. These honours are a true reflection of the searing honest portrayals of human experience Wiseman has achieved over the years and we look forward to working with him and John Davey in the future.