Phil Grabsky

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Phil Grabsky is a British documentary film-maker based in Brighton, East Sussex. His company Seventh Art Productions has produced documentaries for television and cinema.

Grabsky’s work such as I, Caesar, Spain - In the Shadow on the Sun, The Great Commanders and the Tim Marlow on... series, has been broadcast on various U.K. channels such as BBC, Channel 4, Five and Sky Arts, and around the world.

His film The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan was released in cinemas in 2003 and tells the story of 8-year-old Mir and his family living in post-Taliban Afghanistan. The film has been shown across the globe and won 13 awards including the Gold Hugo in Chicago for Best Film and first prize at the Valladolid International Film Festival. Phil continued to film Mir and his family in Afghanistan,[1] and has released a second update on Mir and his family in The Boy Mir- ten Years in Afghanistan (2011).

2006 saw the completion of In Search of Mozart. The film illustrates the life and work of the composer through interviews and live performance. The film premiered at London’s Barbican concert hall. Subsequently it has gone on to become one of the top 100 grossing documentaries in Australia.[2]

Heavy Water: A Film for Chernobyl (2006) explores the Chernobyl nuclear disaster through Mario Petrucci’s (it) poetry. Phil worked in conjunction with director David Bickerstaff for this project which went on to win Best Short Documentary at the Cinequest International Film Festival.[3]

In 2007 Grabsky completed Escape from Luanda which tells the tale of three students at Angola’s only music school.

After the success of In search of Mozart and In Search of Beethoven,In search of Haydn was released in January (2012) focusing on the life and works of the great composer. Grabsky is now working on the next in the series, In Search of Chopin.[4]

Grabsky's most recent project is the ground-breaking initiative to connect major exhibitions from across the world and bring them to cinema screens internationally. The series began with ‘Manet: Portraying Life at the Royal Academy’ on April 11th and continues with Munch on June 27th and Vermeer on October 10th. Each of these event films captures and explores these important shows and brings a wealth of masterpieces to audiences via high-tech digital cinema technology.[5]

Upcoming productions include "Concerto: A Beethoven Journey", which will follow world top pianist Leif Ove Andsnes as he digs deep into Beethoven as a musician and a great mind with his great tour of his 5 piano concertos.[6]

In addition to making films, Phil has released four books and often serves as a judge for various awards including BAFTA, Emmys, RTS and the One World awards.[7]

Feature documentaries[edit]

Selected TV programmes[edit]


  • Judgement Day: Images of Heaven and Hell (2004)
  • Great Artists with Tim Marlow (2003)
  • The Impressionists (1998)
  • I, Caesar – The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (1997)
  • The Great Commanders (1993)
  • Spain – In the Shadow of the Sun (1990)


  • Tim Marlow On..Highlights of the New Tate Modern (2006)
  • The Hidden History of Rome – with Terry Jones (2001)
  • The Hidden History of Egypt – with Terry Jones (2001)
  • Brazil – An Inconvenient History (2000)
  • The Lost Temple of Java (1999)


  • The Great Artists: From Giotto to Turner by Phil Grabsky & Tim Marlow (2002)
  • The Lost Temple of Java by Phil Grabsky (1999)
  • I, Caesar: Ruling the Roman Empire by Phil Grabsky (1997)
  • The Great Commanders: Alexander, Caesar, Nelson, Napoleon, Grant and Zhukov by Phil Grabsky (1995)

Selected awards[edit]

The boy Mir - 10 years in Afghanistan (2011)

  • Best documentary - Santa Barbara International Film Festival
  • Best foreign film - HumanDOC Documentary Film Festival, Poland
  • Runner up: long documentary - Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival

In search of Beethoven (2009)

  • Shortlisted: Creative communication - Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards

Escape from Luanda (2007)

  • Silver Award for Excellence - Park City Film Music Festival

In Search of Mozart (2006)

  • Best Documentary - Dubrovnik Film Festival

Heavy Water: A Film for Chernobyl (2006)

  • Winner – Special Mention - Ourense International Independent Film Festival

The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan (2003)

  • Best Film, Cinematography and Editing - Gold Hugo in Chicago
  • First prize - Valladolid International Film Festival
  • Best Original Score (Dimitri Tchamouroff) – RTS Awards


  1. ^ "PHIL GRABSKY (philgrabsky) on Myspace". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  2. ^ "About Us - Seventh Art Productions". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  3. ^ Seventh Art : Productions[dead link]
  4. ^ "Music Archives - Seventh Art Productions". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  5. ^ "Exhibition on Screen, Great art at the cinema". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  6. ^ "Leif Ove Andsnes". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  7. ^ Escape from Luanda

External links[edit]