MIPTV ’16: Ovation acquires Picasso doc by artist’s grandson

The U.S. arts net has picked up the American premiere rights for two docs on Pablo Picasso, including Picasso, The Legacy. The artist's grandson Olivier Widmaier Picasso (pictured), who co-produced the film, tells realscreen about delving into family history.
April 4, 2016

U.S. arts net Ovation TV has picked up the American premiere rights for two documentaries on the artist Pablo Picasso from distributor Terranoa.

Picasso: A Museum Reborn (1 x 52 minutes) and Picasso, The Legacy (1 x 52 minutes), which was co-produced by the artist’s grandson Olivier Widmaier Picasso, will both debut on Ovation TV in Q4.

The latter film is based on Widmaier Picasso’s 2002 book, Picasso: The Real Family Story, and was co-written by the author and directed by Hugues Nancy. The hour-long doc is the first HD film made about Picasso, and includes unprecedented access to family archives and exclusive interviews with the artist’s close friends and family members. It tells the story of Picasso’s various muses and descendants as well as the several thousands of artworks discovered after the painter’s death, and also explores one of the modern art world’s most complex estate inventory and legal settlements.

Speaking with realscreen in Cannes, Widmaier Picasso said he tried to write a TV doc that could be accessible to a wider audience, and not only specialists. “If you’re in Hawaii, if you live in Thailand, South Africa or Norway, everybody knows Picasso,” he said. “I wanted to make something that’s understandable and that we can drive people to museums right after the doc.

“My grandfather is talent, genius, power, fame, money, sex – everything is mixed, everything you could dream [of] in a lifetime,” the Paris-based producer continued. “So I think we have a good balance between the inspiration of his private life… and his creations, and they both came together.”

Picasso died in 1973 at the age of 91, when Widmaier Picasso was still a boy, but the producer says he conceived of writing a book as a young adult to “set the record straight, and see what was true, and what was not true.”

“Picasso is fascinating [to] people,” he notes. “I came to the conclusion that he was not difficult, but he was not easy.”

Commenting on Ovation TV’s latest acquisition, Scott Woodward, executive VP of programming and production, says “there’s nothing more that could tie back to the DNA of Ovation.” The net plans to debut the doc around December.

Meanwhile, Augustin Viatte’s Picasso: A Museum Reborn is intended as a companion film to The Legacy, and details the re-opening of Paris’ Picasso Museum, the largest public collection of the artist’s work in the world, after four years of renovations and expansion.

Both documentaries were co-produced by Terranoa’s sister company Gedeon Programmes, ARTE and Widmaier Picasso’s production company, Welcome. Picasso, The Legacy - which has sold to more than 25 broadcasters, including BBC4 – was also co-produced with Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais.

U.S. premiere rights for Ovation were brokered through Terranoa’s U.S.-based representative Laetitia Giansily-Doyle.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.