PRODUCING GREAT ART Brighton-based production company Seventh Art Productions has turned its films about the life and works of the world’s most celebrated artists into a new series for ITV. Jenny Priestley talks to executive producer Phil Grabsky about how technology has helped bring the films from the cinema to the small screen
hil Grabsky and his company Seventh Art Productions have been making arts films for over 20 years. Initially working with Channel 5 back in 1997, the company has also produced arts programming for Sky Arts before launching its Exhibition on Screen films into UK cinemas and 60 countries worldwide. Having now completed their 19th feature film, Grabsky approached ITV about turning the films into 50-minute programmes. The first series of Great Art began on ITV at the beginning of January with a five episode run and is also available on catch up. A second series was commissioned at the same time.
So, how did Grabsky go about turning each 90-minute film into a 50 minute episode? “All of the episodes are exactly 50 minutes, they go into an hour slot, but the actual amount of footage is between 49:30 and 50:00. The feature films were anywhere between 85 and 92 minutes,” he explains. “One of the things I’ve never done is patronised our audience or felt the audience couldn’t follow a storyline – I don’t have the same fear that some directors have which is that an audience has no attention span. I think that what they want is to hear intelligent people talking, see beautiful artwork beautifully shot, and actually look at it. So in the
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