Through The Lens: Frederick Wiseman's 'City Hall'

May 21, 2021

Few filmmakers are as prolific as Frederick Wiseman. With 47 documentaries to his credit, the director has spent his life exploring institutions that shape — and are shaped by — American culture.

As part of our partnership with the Utah Film Center, we’ll feature Wiseman's most recent film, City Hall. It’s a subject Wiseman has been interested in for years. After sending letters to city governments across the country asking for permission to document how they work, the only response he got was from the office of Marty Walsh, the then-mayor of Boston, the director’s hometown. Wiseman spent 10 weeks filming in Boston and his final film is long — four and a half hours long — because, as he told us, city hall is complicated. Friday at noon, we'll talk with Wiseman about his work, and with The New Yorker film critic Richard Brody about Wiseman’s unique approach to cinema. 


Please join us for our free online screening of City Hall. In order to give people time to view the whole documentary, City Hall will be available online from Tuesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. through Monday, May 31, at 10 p.m. You can find the link to the screening at And plan on joining us for live-streamed post-film Q&A with local documentary filmmaker Emelie Mahdavian on Thursday evening. More details to come.