City Hall

Premiered December 22, 2020

City government touches almost every aspect of our lives. Watch a preview for CITY HALL, a film by Frederick Wiseman, that illustrates the variety of ways the Boston city administration can enter into civil discourse with its citizens. We see Mayor Walsh and his administration address policy priorities such as racial justice, affordable housing, climate action, and homelessness.

CITY HALL - Produced by Puritan Films, LLC in association with PBS, WGBH, and Independent Television Service (ITVS). Funding for this program was provided by: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS, Ford Foundation/JustFilms, The Pershing Square Foundation, LEF Foundation - Moving Image Fund, Richard and Peggy Greenfield Foundation. Fiscal Sponsorship provided by Utah Film Center. © 2020 Puritan Films, LLC– All Rights Reserved. CITY HALL is a Zipporah Films, Inc. Release.

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Past Wiseman Films | external link

Monrovia, Indiana

Visit the web site for Fred Wiseman's film, MONROVIA, INDIANA

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Frederick Wiseman on CITY HALL

Excerpt from an Interview in which filmmaker Frederick Wiseman discusses making CITY HALL:

“I had always wanted to do a film about a City Hall. I sent a letter to the mayors of number of cities, and the only response I got was from Joyce Linehan in the Boston mayor’s office. Having had a home in Cambridge for 60 years, I was thrilled with the opportunity to work in Boston. I spent 10 weeks filming, and tried to show as many diverse activities that were related to City Hall as I could.

The film is 4.5 hours long, because the activities of City Hall are complicated. I felt I had an obligation, to the people who gave me permission to make the film, to adequately represent the complexity and diversity of their work. I think, as you see in CITY HALL, the employees of Boston City Hall are hardworking and devoted. They accept the responsibilities of their jobs and want to perform them appropriately and successfully.

When I started filming, I really didn't know much, if anything, about Boston City Hall, nor did I know anything about the politics. What I learned is what you see in the film.

I like to think, in making movies for 55 years, that I’ve learned something. Editing one of these movies is in large measure analyzing people's behavior because, unless I understand what’s going on in the sequence, I can’t make the decision as to whether or not I want to use it, or where to place it in the structure of the film.

If I haven't previously solved an editorial problem or a structural problem in a way that pleases me, I tend to remember that the next time I go out. I can avoid running into those same problems again, and am more likely to get the kind of shots and sound that I need.”

- Frederick Wiseman

Since 1967, Frederick Wiseman has directed 43 documentaries—dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH SCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LA DANSE, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, CENTRAL PARK, and CRAZY HORSE.

Wiseman's work has been distributed in theatres and broadcast on television in many countries by his Cambridge, MA company, Zipporah Films www.zipporah.com

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