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 won 13 awards including the Gold Hugo in Chicago for Best Film and first prize at the Valladolid International Film Festival. Grabsky 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. Grabsky worked in conjunction with director David Bickerstaff for this project which won Best Short Documentary at the Cinequest Film Festival.[3]

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

Grabsky's most recent project connects major exhibitions from across the world and shows them on cinema screens. The series began with Manet: Portraying Life at the Royal Academy on 11 April and continues with a film on Munch on 27 June, and Vermeer on 10 October.[4]

Upcoming productions include "Concerto: A Beethoven Journey", which will follow pianist Leif Ove Andsnes as he tours playing Beethoven's five piano concertos.[5]

In addition to making films, Grabsky has released four books and has served as a judge for BAFTA, Emmys, RTS and the One World awards.[6]

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


  • The boy Mir - 10 years in Afghanistan (2011)
    • Best documentary - Santa Barbara International Film Festival[citation needed]
    • Best foreign film - HumanDOC Documentary Film Festival, Poland[citation needed]
    • Runner up: long documentary - Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival[citation needed]
  • In search of Beethoven (2009) – Shortlisted: Creative communication - Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards[citation needed]
  • Escape from Luanda (2007) – Silver Award for Excellence - Park City Film Music Festival[citation needed]
  • In Search of Mozart (2006) – Best Documentary - Dubrovnik Film Festival[citation needed]
  • Heavy Water: A Film for Chernobyl (2006) – Winner – Special Mention - Ourense International Independent Film Festival[citation needed]
  • The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan (2003)


  1. ^ "Phil Grabsky (philgrabsky) on Myspace". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  2. ^ "About Us - Seventh Art Productions". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  3. ^ Seventh Art : Productions Archived April 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Exhibition on Screen, Great art at the cinema". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  5. ^ "Leif Ove Andsnes". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  6. ^ Escape from Luanda
  7. ^

External links[edit]