Masters of Dox

Ex Libris - The New York Public Library

Frederick Wiseman
Screening time  
03.03. / Saturday, 21:00 - 00:30 Theatre 1  
Wiseman portrays the NYC library as a most democratic American institution, a place of welcome and cultural exchange for all the citizens of this cosmopolitan megalopolis.

After 50 years of training his camera on institutions, Frederick Wiseman finally channels his passion for books to get inside the New York Public Library. Over several weeks in 2015, we observe multiple facets of the library, not only in midtown Manhattan but also in less frequented neighbourhoods. Scenes of citizens taking advantage of the library’s Braille classes and book clubs are juxtaposed against gala fundraising and boardroom decision-making. The film takes full advantage of the library’s guest speakers, capturing snatches of public conversations with authors Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Ta-Nehisi Coates and others. Newcomers to Wiseman should be mindful that his methodology is to show, not tell, what is going on, leaving viewers to do their own thinking about what is onscreen.


Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman was born in 1930 in Boston and attended Yale Law School. He has directed nearly forty feature documentaries and has received multiple awards, including the 2007 lifetime achievement award from the Chicago IDFF and the 2014 Golden lion life award at Venice FF. His filmography includes: Titicut Follies (1967), High School (1968), Law & Order (1969), Welfare (1975), Zoo (1993), Public Housing (1997), the fiction feature The Last Letter (2002), and Boxing Gym (2010). Ex Libris – New York Public Library (2017) is his latest documentary.

General sponsor

Ex Libris – The New York Public Library

2017, 197'

Directed by:
Frederick Wiseman

John Davey

Edited by:
Frederick Wiseman


Frederick Wiseman

Produced by:

Festivals & Awards:

Venice Film Festival 2017 – FIPRESCI Prize, Fair Play Cinema Award; Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2017 – Documentary Award Best Director; 90th Academy Awards, Best Documentary Feature Short List, 2017; Toronto International Film Festival 2017; IDFA 2017; BFI Film Festival 2017; Camerimage International Film Festival 2017; RIDM 2017; Vienna International Film Festival 2017; Doclisboa 2017; San Sebastián International Film Festival 2017; Cork Film Festival 2017; Hamburg Film Festival 2017; Tromsø International Film Festival 2018; Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 2017; Gotham Awards 2017