Sunny Side ’12: Arte, PBS to examine iconic monuments

Arte France is teaming up with U.S. net PBS and French prodco Zed to co-develop four CGI-driven docs about iconic monuments, the first two of which will focus on Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (pictured) and the Jordanian city Petra.
June 29, 2012

Arte France has unveiled a number of major international coproduction projects that are to air once a month on Sundays on a new event-driven, prestige primetime strand.

Overseen at Arte France by Hélène Coldey from the network’s specialist factual department, the documentaries aim to be visually spectacular and will be scheduled alternatively with movies.

The channel has committed with PBS strand ‘Nova’ and French prodco Zed to co-develop four CGI-driven documentaries about iconic monuments for the new strand, the first two of which will focus on Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (pictured above) and the famous historical Jordanian city Petra.

Elsewhere, the broadcaster unveiled a docudrama about the Statue of Liberty, being made with Telfrance; and science doc Body Planet, being made with Mona Lisa and Mentorn. Arte has also partnered with BBC Worldwide on In The Mind of Leonardo Vinci and Earth Flight, the latter being about the migratory patterns of birds.

Arte entirely revamped its schedule in January following the appointment last year of new president Véronique Cayla. Besides the Sunday night event-driven slot, documentary changes included more strands devoted to culture, while Tuesdays evenings were reorganized to add recent history to investigative docs.

“Documentaries about literature are making their comeback on our channel, ranging from [Albert] Camus to Britain’s Martin Amis,” said Arte France program director Vincent Meslet. “We are also commissioning documentaries in sync with big exhibitions [on artists] such as Edward Hopper.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.