"People are intelligent, but often uninformed – which is not the same as being unintelligent. They are willing to be challenged, to have something complicated explained to them.

“It doesn’t all have to be about glitter and celebrity.”

Brighton-based filmmaker Phil Grabsky is railing against an attitude particularly prevalent on television, but also in other media, which is ignoring arts and culture.

The end of the South Bank Show on ITV last year and the weekly Late Review on BBC Two last month underlined the lack of interest the major channels have in culture today.

But as a filmmaker of 15 years standing – specialising in historical documentary – Grabsky has seen it from the sharp end.

“One of my bugbears is that I’m constantly having to justify making films about art,” he says. “Culture is an important part of civilisation, it’s highly entertaining, inspirational and educational – and a lot of the population get that.”

Grabsky was behind Sky Arts biggest show of 2011 – Leonardo Live – which saw him bring the hotly anticipated exhibition at London’s National Gallery to homes and cinemas across the world on its opening night.

And now he is launching a new regular programme at cinemas across the world with Exhibition – which ditches the live element to create carefully crafted 90-minute films based around big name shows.

Exhibition is launching with a film made about the Royal Academy of Arts’s current best-selling exploration of Édouard Manet’s portraiture.

“Often exhibitions are not ready until the night before the opening,” he says.

“The minute they hung the last painting and put the last light up we were in there filming for hours with long takes.

“It’s expensive, but the advantage is it gives time to edit the film. We have spent four or five weeks crafting it.”

At the centre of the film is the exhibition, introduced by art historian Tim Marlow.

The film also includes a biography of Manet, with scenes filmed on location in Paris, and the opportunity to see key works not featured in the exhibition.

“I always want my films to be as engaging for my 11-year-old son as my 91-year-old mother,” says Grabsky. “We chose specific paintings from the Royal Academy exhibition and showed them carefully, with experts talking about them in a way that is understandable.

“We also got behind the scenes and showed how the exhibition was put on – including the dolls’ house model featuring small versions of the paintings that they use to see what will go where.

“We have followed a painting that arrived from Ohio in the US, which is so fragile they have to control the climate throughout every step of the journey.

“And we have explored Manet’s Paris – which changed from a medieval town under Napoleon III’s building programmes.”

He believes the film will not only open its audience to the life and work of Manet, but also encourage more people to visit art galleries.

“When I walked around the Tate Modern the first time I didn’t understand it, I thought a lot of it was silly,” he says. “But when I walked around with an art historian some of it started to make sense.

“You can love the music of Mozart without knowing much about him, but you get so much more if you know the life behind it.”

As well as being screened across the country on Thursday, Manet: Portraying Life is also being beamed by satellite to cinemas in 29 other countries, including Poland, Guatemala, Chile and Malta.

“When I spoke to journalists from Mexico they said how fantastic it was,” says Grabsky. “They all said there’s no way their audience could get to London to see the exhibition.

“In the UK, most tickets are sold out for the exhibition. This way people get to see it without being shoved about.”

Grabsky is also working on future displays around the world – with the next in the Exhibition strand set to be Munch 150 at Oslo’s National Museum and Munch Museum in June, followed by a return to London with the National Gallery’s Vermeer And Music in October.

“We have got galleries talking to us about exhibitions in 2014, 2015 and even 2016,” says Grabsky who is hoping to cover exhibitions in Australia, the US and the Netherlands as well as the UK next year.

“There’s an abundance of riches. We are planning to make five or six a year.

“The ideal model is to get to the stage of something like Live From The Met [the live opera strand which is also screened at Picturehouse cinemas].

“When they come out, people buy a season ticket without even knowing what operas are being staged, because they trust the brand and know they will get a good evening out.

“An art historian told me this could revolutionise the way art is shown around the world. I don’t know about that, but it’s exciting to see what will happen.”

  • Exhibition - Manet: Portraying Life is at Duke’s @ Komedia, Gardner Street, Brighton, on Thursday, April 11. Starts 7pm, tickets £15. Call 0871 9025728