Tag Archives: Chancellor Robert Birgeneau

Wiseman’s ‘At Berkeley’ shows a university under strain

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Frederick Wiseman, interviewed by Berkeleyside this week, has been steadily making documentaries about institutions since his 1967 Titicut Follies took viewers inside a Massachusetts hospital for the criminally insane. His subjects have ranged from a high school to basic training to meatpacking plants to ballet in Paris. In the fall of 2010, Wiseman and two collaborators — a cameraman and an assistant — arrived on the UC Berkeley campus to subject the university to the same treatment.

Wiseman had written to then-Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to see if the university was receptive to the project. After lunch with Birgeneau and Provost George Breslauer, Wiseman received the go-ahead for the project. The only thing he wasn’t allowed to film was tenure discussions. Wiseman, in turn, said the university could have 48 hours after he filmed anything to request it not be included. In the event, virtually nothing was affected, according to Wiseman. … Continue reading »

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