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Cinematical Interviews Michael Apted

apted.JPGAmong his credits are The World is Not Enough and the upcoming Amazing Grace. Between all his work, Michael Apted has crafted cinema's longest-running documentary series. In 1964, he interviewed a group of 7 year olds. Every seven years since then, he's revisited the film's subjects and caught up with where they are in their lives. There's a 7 Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21, etc... This year, it's 49 Up.

Cinematical's Ryan Stewart interviewed Apted recently about his documentary filmmaking and the process of following the same people for so many years. People have come and gone, Apted recounts, and has made life-long friends along the way. Some, he says, even get to come to his movie premieres.

Apted's candor reveals that he's fairly certain the series won't live on past him. "I think that if someone new comes in, obviously they might not have that history with them that sways them into doing it again," he says. And some of that persuading's already come into play. Most notably, Apted talks about the struggles he's had since reality TV's come to popularity.

They wonder 'What is this? Is this a reality show? Is it high-entertainment? Should we be making tons of money? Are we being exploited?' I try to explain to them that I think there's a distinct difference. With reality television, some of which is very good and illuminating and some isn't, you create a situation...But with a documentary, whether it pulls it off or not, is supposed to capture people's lives as they are, rather than constructing something different.

Apted's "49 Up" will be on DVD in November; "Amazing Grace" premieres at the Heartland Film Festival on October 19.

Posted by on October 9, 2006 6:12 PM
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Your reviewer says in 1964 Mike Apted interviewed a geoup of seven year olds. WRONG! Paul Almond interviewed them in 1964, and thought up the whole idea and directed the film. Please print a correction. The true story can be found at

-- Posted by: Paul Almond at November 11, 2006 9:19 PM

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