New York – The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking today announced that the 2012 Legacy Award will be presented to the landmark 1967 documentary, Titicut Follies, a stark and graphic portrayal of the conditions that existed at the State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman will accept the award on behalf of the film at this year’s Cinema Eye ceremony.
“It’s hard for me to believe that Titicut Follies was shot forty-six years ago,” said Wiseman. “I’m thrilled to receive the Cinema Eye Legacy Award but it is tough for me to deal with the implications.”
The award will be presented on January 11, 2012 at the 5th Annual Cinema Eye Honors ceremony to be held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. A Stranger Than Fiction screening of Titicut Follies will be held the following week, on January 17, at the IFC Center, on the eve of the opening of Wiseman’s latest film, Crazy Horse, which debuts at New York’s Film Forum on January 18, before rolling out to theaters nationwide.
“Few filmmakers – in fiction or nonfiction – have created such an enduring body of work that is also, uniquely, their own as Frederick Wiseman,” said Cinema Eye’s Advisory Chair Andrea Meditch. “The legacy of Titicut Follies stands as a beacon to all of today’s filmmakers for its unflinching honesty and the lingering power of John Marshall’s camera and Wiseman’s editing.”
“Titicut Follies is a remarkable film, both for its unwavering look at a failed institution and as the template for the decades of Wiseman films that would follow,” said Laura Poitras, the Chair of the Cinema Eye Filmmaker Advisory Board, which voted to give the Legacy Award to Titicut Follies. “As filmmakers, we look to Wiseman as an inspiration and we are honored to salute the debut film of this vital American auteur.”
This is the third year that Cinema Eye will present a Legacy Award, intended to honor classic films that inspire a new generation of filmmakers and embody the Cinema Eye mission: excellence in creative and artistic achievements in nonfiction films. The Legacy Award celebrates the entire creative team behind the chosen film. This year marked the first time that Cinema Eye’s newly established Filmmaker Advisory Board voted on the recipient of the award. Previous Legacy Awards went to Ross McElwee’s Sherman’s March and the Maysles Brothers’ Grey Gardens.
About Frederick Wiseman
Frederick Wiseman has made 37 documentaries and 2 fiction films. Among his documentaries are Titicut Follies, Welfare, Public Housing, Near Death, La Comédie Française ou l’Amour Joué, and La Danse—Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris. 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 Prize Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. 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.
About the Cinema Eye Honors and the 2012 Awards
The Cinema Eye Honors were founded in 2007 to recognize excellence in artistry and craft in nonfiction filmmaking. It remains the only international nonfiction award to recognize the whole creative team, presenting annual craft awards in directing, producing, cinematography, editing, composing and graphic design/animation. The 5th edition of the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking will be held January 11, 2012 at New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Nominees for the 2012 awards were announced on October 26, 2011. A full list of nominees can be found at
Cinema Eye is headed by a core team that includes Co-Chairs Esther Robinson (director, A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory; Cinema Eye nominee for Outstanding Debut, 2008) and AJ Schnack (director, Kurt Cobain About A Son and founder of Cinema Eye), Producer Nathan Truesdell (producer, Convention), Nominations Committee Chair Sean Farnel (Former Head of Programming, Hot Docs Film Festival), Advisory Board Chair Andrea Meditch (executive producer, Buck and Man on Wire) and Filmmaker Advisory Board Chair Laura Poitras (director, The Oath; Cinema Eye winner for Outstanding Direction, 2011).
The members of the Cinema Eye Filmmaker Advisory Board include Mila Aung-Thwin (producer, Up the Yangtze and Last Train Home, Cinema Eye winner for Production 2011); RJ Cutler (director, The September Issue, Cinema Eye winner for Audience Choice, 2010); Sam Green (director, Utopia in Four Movements and The Weather Underground); Ellen Kuras (director, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), Cinema Eye Nominee for Debut, 2009); Audrey Marrs (producer, Inside Job; Cinema Eye nominee for Production, 2011), James Marsh (director, Man on Wire; Cinema Eye winner for Feature, 2009); Morgan Spurlock (director, POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) and Jennifer Venditti (director, Billy the Kid, Cinema Eye winner for Debut, 2008).
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For more information about Frederick Wiseman and his films, visit Zipporah Films at