With nearly 53 million items on its shelves and 3,000 employees, the New York Public Library is the second largest public library in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world. Established in 1895, it is open to the general public and thanks to its constant renovation and activities program, and it has become one of the most beloved and revered institutions of the city.
An incredibly gifted documentarian who made his directorial debut in 1967, Frederick Wiseman returns to Americana Film Festival after his stunning feature In Jackson Heights in 2016, which focused on one of New York City’s most culturally diverse neighbourhood. This time, the filmmaker visits yet another iconic place of the Big Apple: the New York Public Library, one of the most important pillars of knowledge in the country. Just like he did in his 2014’s feature National Gallery, Wiseman explores the insides of a great institution, showing among other things, its workers carrying on restoration and storage processes. However, with Ex Libris: New York Public Library, the documentarian wanted to show that far from being solely a storage space, a library is a place exuding culture, where all kinds of activities take place and where young and old can come to enrich their lives, their education and their mind. Winner of the FIPRESCI prize at the Venice Film Festival and screened at the San Sebastian Festival, where it competed in the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Section, Wiseman’s latest documentary won’t disappoint his admirers while pleasantly surprising new audience. More than the books in themselves, the filmmaker prefers to show the people behind them and how humanity is never far from these sacred objects and spaces..
2017: FIPRESCI Prize – Venice Film Festival
2017: Best director – Critics Choice Documentary Award
2017: San Sebastián Film Festival
2017: Nominated for best documentary and audience award – Gotham Awards
2017: Nominated for best documentary – Satellite Awards