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Fascinating documentaries on artists, writers, dancers, musicians and more
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In-depth shows on modern and classical art, architecture and design
A wide range of concerts from classical to rock, pop, jazz, soul and the blues
Stimulating programmes examining popular fiction, classic novels and poetry
Inspiring performances of contemporary dance, ballet, opera and theatre
SKY ARTS is proud to support New Zealand Arts, so look out for more home grown arts programmes made by local artists and filmmakers.
The notion of passion, in music, initially referred to accounts of the suffering and death of Jesus. But would any form of art be conceivable without ardent passion and that kind of suffering which mobilizes creative forces as starting point for new artistic endeavours? Andris Nelsons presents a concert night that concentrates every conceivable passion: Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Trumpet Concerto, entitled “Nobody Knows The Trouble I See” – a protest against racism – and Mahler’s Second, ‘Resurrection’ Symphony.
If the 20th century was the century of self, artist Ryan Gander believes the 21st century is the century of the selfie. In this smart, surprising film, he takes a timely look at who we are, who we want to be, how we use new and emerging media techniques and technologies to achieve it, and how that process impacts and inspires contemporary culture, society and art. From the hallowed halls of great art galleries and the national galleries of London, to the Cryonics labs and Social Media hubs of California, Ryan tests the limits of what ‘self’ means.
Shot by more than 40 filmmaking teams around the world, the film immerses the viewer in the daily use of faith and spiritual practice. At a time when religious hatreds dominate the world’s headlines, this film explores faith as primary human experience, and how people turn to ritual and prayer to navigate the milestones and crises of private life.
The film’s director commissioned or sourced footage from top independent filmmakers from more than 25 countries -- and a wide range of religious traditions -- each team contributing a single scene. The film, sweeping in its global reach, yet intensely intimate, is a tour de force that unifies these scenes into a single work, told without narration, without experts and, for long stretches, without words at all.
Hawaii joined the United States in 1959 and became its 50th state. Hollywood was quick to discover the fabulous location and the native art of the Pacific which turned into a synthetic exotic world to reflect the optimism of the times. Thor Heyerdahl´s book “Kon-Tiki” became a world best-seller, Tiki bars sprang up everywhere, the Mai Tai was the drink of the moment and interiors were decorated with rattan. The nudity of Hula girls was acceptable as they were considered natives and part of folklore.
The craze started with SOUTH PACIFIC and Elvis Presley’s movies shot in Hawaii. Marlon Brando was so taken with the local charm that he bought an island in Polynesia and married the Tahitian actress of his MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY while Presley created a “jungle room” Tiki style at Graceland. Tiki had its moment between McCarthyism and the hippy culture. Around 1966 the Jimmy Hendrix generation superseded the Dean Martin generation. Katmandou replaced Hawaii and marihuana the exotic drinks.
Filmmaker Sebastien Zulian got Sven Kristen, cameraman and author of many books on Tiki as well as Craig Detweiler, film teacher at Peperdine University, to explain the phenomenon and rounds off his documentary with clips from THE HURRICANE, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, SONG OF THE ISLAND, SOUTH PACIFIC, HIS MAJESTY O’KEEFE, BIKINI BEACH, PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE, BLUE HAWAII and LT. ROBINSON CRUSOE.
Bobby Keys has lived the kind of life that qualifies as a rock 'n' roll folktale. In his early teens, Keys bribed his way into Buddy Holly’s garage band rehearsals. He took up the saxophone because it was the only instrument left unclaimed in the school band, and he convinced his grandfather to sign his guardianship over to Crickets drummer J.I. Allison so that he could go on tour as a teenager.
Keys spent years on the road during the early days of rock ‘n’ roll with hitmakers like Bobby Vee, followed by decades as top touring and session sax man for the likes of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, George Harrison, John Lennon, and onto, most famously, his gig with The Rolling Stones from 1970 onward. Every Night's a Saturday Night finds Keys setting down the many tales of an over-the-top rock ‘n’ roll life in his own inimitable voice.
Featuring interviews with Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Ian McLagan, Billy Gibbons, Dr. John, Jim Keltner, among many others.
A concert with a Nordic flavour from Paavo Jarvi and the Estonian Festival Orchestra (making its Proms debut) pairs music by Grieg and Sibelius with Estonia’s own national composer, Arvo Part. Celebrated Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili performs one of the great Romantic piano concertos. Beloved for its generous melodies and dramatic gestures, Grieg’s concerto is matched for sonic drama by Sibelius’s stirring Fifth Symphony. Arvo Part’s eclectic Third Symphony, with its echoes of Renaissance polyphony and Orthodox chant, opens the concert.
PROGRAMME: Part: Symphony No 3; Grieg: Piano Concerto; Jean Sibelius: Symphony No 5.
Master artist Graeme Stevenson travels around Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States on his Harley Davidson filming artists in their studios and showing their techniques. The series is educational, entertaining, humorous and enables viewers to learn from some of the best artists in the world.
Norman Catherine is one of South Africa’s leading contemporary artists. This film is an exploration of Catherine’s self-confessed x-rated visions that meander and skulk in the convoluted labyrinths of a myriad of minds, usually all his own. Nothing is muted or subtle in Catherine’s work. We take the viewer on a bizarre and extremely intimate journey into the mind and life of Catherine through the use of his pictures and interviews. Interviews include Jody Scheckter, Greg Marinovich, Professor Karel Nel, Linda Given and Johnny Clegg.
The fact that South Africa has changed has done little to soften his “dark side” but a mutation has occurred. The raw expressions of fear and fury have been replaced by an awareness of inner city psychosis caused by escalating violence, the underworld of gangsterism, crime, and the spread of corporate corruption. On the lighter side, we touch on Catherine’s collaboration with artist Walter Battiss and the incredibly imaginative “Fook Island” project during an experimental time in his early years. In all cases, Catherine is marked by the wicked, truthful sense of humour that allows one to shudder while laughing.
Only once has Sir Antonio Pappano been a guest of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks – time for a reunion with the British star conductor at the Philharmonie in Munich! Pappano has earned the highest reputation as long-standing music director at London’s Opera House Covent Garden and of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome. In Munich, his extraordinary programme includes Sergei Rachmaninoff’s magnificent Second Symphony, which demonstrates the outstanding melodic qualities of the Russian composer, who is regarded as the “Last of the Romantics”.
To celebrate the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, Pappano presents the rarely heard Symphony No. 2, which shows the young American conductor and composer in search of meaning. With this work, dubbed “The Age of Anxiety”, the composer struck the nerve of the post-war generation who oscillated between loneliness and the craving for pleasure and longed for stability in faith. Kirill Gerstein, “who is emerging as one of the most respected pianists of his generation” (New York Times), gives his debut with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in the dark, urban piece of Bernstein. As the symphony’s dazzling protagonist, he will bring his jazz experience to this highly topical piece.
Today’s brightest personalities discover the surprising stories buried within their own families in the fifth season of the critically acclaimed PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This season features an array of celebrated guests who are cultural trailblazers with fascinating family stories, including Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei; Emmy and Golden Globe Award winners Felicity Huffman, Laura Linney and S. Epatha Merkerson; and actors Michael K. Williams, Andy Samberg, Chloe Sevigny and Kal Penn.
Season Five also includes superstar author George R.R. Martin; acclaimed journalists Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry, Joe Madison and Lisa Ling; bestselling author and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg; TV hosts Seth Meyers and Michael Strahan; artists Marina Abramovic and Kehinde Wiley; politicians Marco Rubio, Tulsi Gabbard and Paul Ryan; Academy Award-winning filmmakers Alejandro Innaritu and Michael Moore; and comedians Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman.
Oklahoma to California: 2600 kms, 420 dollars, 30 days, 5 bikes, 2 guitars and one of the most influential novels of the 20th century - The Bikes of Wrath is the story of adventure, human connection, and an in-depth look at inequality and disenfranchisement in today's America through the lens of John Steinbeck's seminal novel, 'The Grapes of Wrath'.
Through chance encounters with everyday Americans, these five friends explore the novel's core themes - migration, inequality and the perceived land of opportunity - and how the nation has progressed decades after it's first publication.
Through countless acts of generosity from small-town individuals and communities, to desolating encounters with 'unwanted' Americans, the cyclists experience first-hand the startling parallels of the novel in a country still grappling with the same issues today, and ultimately, it's own sense of identity.
This series travels to the great opera houses of the world, from Milan and Venice, to London and New York, to pay tribute to the greatest opera singers of our time. Hosted and narrated by operatic soprano, Danielle de Niese.
Featuring classic moments in the careers of twelve legends of opera, from Luciano Pavarotti to Enrico Caruso, Joan Sutherland to Kiri Te Kanawa and Jessye Norman to Mario Lanza. Filmed in the United Kingdom and Italy, each episode features historical archival footage, performance highlights and contributions from artists, critics and directors.
In this heart-warming and thought-provoking show, award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes’ immense talent is on display. Joined by acclaimed pianist John Martin, Miriam reflects on the influences which shaped her career, and her love of classic literature. Throughout her performance, Miriam inhabits over twenty characters with a dazzling variety of the accents for which she is renowned. A rare and extraordinary theatrical journey.
An Engineer Imagines is a cinematic homage to the life and ideas of Peter Rice, a man widely regarded as the most distinguished structural engineer of the late twentieth century. Without his innovations and collaborations with the leading architects of his time, some of the most recognisable buildings in the world would not have been possible.
The film traces Rice’s extraordinary life from his native Ireland, through London, Sydney and Paris, to his untimely and tragic death in 1992. Through a series of interviews with his family, friends and former colleagues, interwoven with stunning time-lapse photography, we begin to understand the workings of one of the great minds and unsung heroes of the twentieth century. This is the story of a man who pushed the boundaries of art and science to achieve the unimaginable.
Gregory Porter: Don’t Forget Your Music is an inspirational story of a unique musical talent. Told through candid interviews, and exclusive access-all-areas coverage, the story traces the Grammy-award winner’s journey to international fame.
There is no doubt Porter is special, his story is particularly poignant in the current American zeitgeist, yet Porter transcends to represent the next generation in the American Jazz story. The camera loves Porter; he is a mountain of a man, softly spoken who strikes a sartorial presence in an eclectic mix of tailored suits, waistcoats and his now famous Jazz hat.
This documentary contains interviews and contributions from Porter’s family, music industry figures and some of the world’s most influential musicians. In a time when the world and media is obsessed with making instant stars through reality TV and social media, this film shows that at the heart of success must be raw talent and self-belief.
Shot over five years leading to its 250th anniversary, The Private Life of the Royal Academy is an intimate portrait of one of Britain’s most enduring cultural institutions. With unique access, the documentary illuminates the inner workings of the Royal Academy of Arts and reveals how it embraces the challenge of balancing tradition and innovation.
Heart of Glass is a journey. A road trip through several countries on two continents in pursuit of a story. The story of a young glass blower with a singular talent: Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert. The film follows him in his daily life-working in the studio and on the road and reveals how passion can undo a tragic fate.
Made especially for The Australian Ballet by Alexei Ratmansky, the world’s most in-demand choreographer, Cinderella has all the elements of the story we know and love – a feisty heroine, a dashing prince, a kindly godmother and a deliciously wicked stepmother – with some fantastical additions.
Artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre, Ratmansky is a recipient of the MacArthur ‘genius grant’, and is the acknowledged master of the modern story ballet. His Cinderella, designed by the acclaimed Jérôme Kaplan, takes its vision from Prokofiev’s dark and surprising 1940s score and whirls with stars and planets, surrealist-inspired projections and a Dior-worthy golden ball gown.
Witty, vibrant, glamorous and romantic, Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella will sweep you off your feet.
An intimate portrait of the legendary bass guitarist for The Who. This documentary includes the last footage ever recorded with John Entwistle, and features interviews with Pete Townshend, as well as many other major figures in rock history.
Duane Michals is a young man of almost 80 years old and a master of photography. He works as a storyteller by incorporating handwritten texts that adds another dimension to the images’ meaning. Duane Michals always balances fragility and strength, gravity and humour. This film follows him in his favourite locations (Pittsburgh, New York, Vermont) through his themes, which are universal as love, desire, death, and immortality.
Who is the Mona Lisa? This question prompts a thriller-like quest across Europe, in search for clues about the identity of the lady in the Louvre. She is not, Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a Florentine silk merchant as previously thought because a newly discovered document shows that if Leonardo did paint Lisa, he must have done it in 1503—at least 10 years before the dating of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.
In the early part of the 20th century, the movie musical was on the rise. Dancing moved easily from stage to screen, and became bigger, more potent, ever more spectacular and a lasting love affair with the movie going public was born. These extraordinary choreographed moments light up the screen and provide some of the most memorable moments in cinema history.
The frothy, sparkly Paquita is a quintessential classical ballet. With choreography by Marius Petipa, Paquita is full of spectacular turns, exuberant leaps and delicate footwork. Enhanced with a patina of gleaming gold, Paquita flows by with an air of effortless beauty. An Australian Ballet production.
“Foolish indeed is he who marries in old age." Thus ends Don Pasquale: with a wise dictum not lacking in irony that sums up the disappointments of its hero, a rich bachelor keen to marry who is deceived by his nephew Ernesto and his young bride-to-be Norina. First performed in Paris in 1843, at the turning point of several eras, Don Pasquale, a composite and varied work, is the apotheosis of opera buffa. Performed for the first time at the Paris Opera, this production has been entrusted to the Italian director, Damiano Michieletto, who transports us directly to the sincerity and dramatic splendour at the heart of an apparently light‑hearted work.
Texas guitarist Gary Clark, Jr. has been compared to guitar icons like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. His playing is a powerful and inspired mix of blues, contemporary soul, and hip-hop, and when he’s rolling at his best, he sounds like nothing so much as a natural hybrid of both the past and the future of the blues.
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Clark first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and spent his teens playing whatever gig he could get in the Austin area. In 2011 Clark signed with Warner Brothers’ Records and released The Bright Lights EP. It was followed by the albums ‘Blak and Blu’ and ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim’, both of which reached the Top Ten on the US charts. Throughout his career, Clark has been a prolific live performer and this intimate studio performance is not to be missed!
Since his arrival on the South African art scene in the 1980’s, Beezy Bailey has consistently challenged, provoked and at times evoked the ire of the mainstream art world. In this film, for the first time, we peel back the layers around one of South Africa’s most colourful artists as he looks back at a career spanning 30 years.
Famed for his painting, his sculptures and his performances, as well as his high level collaborations with artists like David Bowie, Arno Carstens and Brian Eno – wherever Bailey goes, he certainly leaves his mark. This film is a constant dialogue, a conversation with colleagues, collaborators, critics, and of course the artist himself.
Outspoken and political, Bailey has been called a jester, a joker, a provocateur and an Outsider. He would argue that it is from the outside that one keeps a fresh perspective, and that only from this position can one be a real force for change.
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