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Museums make bigscreen push

Exhibition series of cinemacasts launches in April

The success of bigscreen fine-arts cinemacast “Leonardo Live” has spurred its producers, PhilGrabskyFilms.com and BY Experience, to team with alternative content distributor NCM Fathom Events to present a series of museum-based cinemacasts called Exhibition.

Launching in April with “Manet: Portraying Life,” a look at an exhibit of the Impressionist painter’s art on view at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, the Exhibition programming establishes an ongoing footprint for fine-arts offerings in the alt-content cinema marketplace. Performing arts orgs have already had notable success drawing crowds to HD cinemacasts (both live and recorded) of live entertainment, with the Metropolitan Opera’s high-profile programming joined more recently by legit troupes including London’s National Theater, which in June will present a live cinemacast of Helen Mirren topliner “The Audience.”

With Exhibition, art museums muscle in on the turf that for other arts orgs has become a fruitful means of brand expansion — as well as a new revenue stream.

The trio of initial offerings in the series will also include a Junes look at the National Museum and Munch Museum’s Edvard Munch exhibit in Oslo, and an October title focused on a Johannes Vermeer show at London’s National Gallery.

“Leonardo Live,” the 100-minute cinemacast that gave a tour of the paintings in a popular London exhibit as guided by a couple of hosts and a selection of talking heads, played in almost 500 U.S. movie theaters in a one-night-only showing, selling more 100,000 tickets, according to BY Experience.

“Manet” will play on some 450 U.S. screens via NCM Fathom Events and NCM’s Digital Broadcast Network. It’ll also be seen in international venues in countries including Argentina, France, Australia and the U.K., among others.

PhilGrabskyFilms.com is the film arm of Seventh Art Prods., the indie production company in the U.K. BY Experience, meanwhile, has had a hand in distributing a number of alt-content cinema titles over the years, including the programming from the Met and the National. DSAT Cinema, the Euro network for satellite distribution to digital cinemas, also is on board for the Exhibition series.

Limited screenings of “Manet: Portraying Life” kick off April 11, a few days before the exhibition is slated to close in London April 14.

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