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Phil Grabsky

United Kingdom / Website


Phil Grabsky is an award-winning documentary film-maker. With a film career spanning 20 years, Phil and his company Seventh Art Productions make films for cinema and television.

Phil's cinema films include The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan, which has played worldwide and, to date, has won thirteen awards, including first prize at Valladolid International Film Festival, and the Gold Hugo in Chicago for Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. Phil is continuing to film in Afghanistan and will release the follow up film The Boy Mir in 2011.

In early 2006 Phil completed the first ever feature-length documentary on the life of Mozart, In Search of Mozart, which contains performances and interviews with dozens of today's finest performers. It premiered to over 1000 people at London's Barbican concert hall, and has now been broadcast across the world, as well as gaining cinema distribution. In Australian cinemas, within weeks, it entered the all-time top grossing documentaries. More recently, working with co-director David Bickerstaff, he has also completed Heavy Water: a Film for Chernobyl, which uses Mario Petrucci's poetry to explore the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The film recently won the Best Short Documentary at the Cinequest International Film Festival. Phil recently completed his latest film Escape from Luanda which followed Angola's only music school over the course of a year. Last year he finished production of In Search of Beethoven - the eagerly awaited major cinema film on the life of Beethoven.

Phil's TV films include one-offs for BBC strands Timewatch and Reputations as well as major series such as Channel 4's Spain - in the Shadow of the Sun and The Great Commanders, BBC's I Caesar and Five & Sky Arts's Tim Marlow arts strand. Phil has also made six award-winning history films with Monty Python's Terry Jones. Phil has also written four history books and is regularly involved as a judge for the Emmys, Bafta, RTS and One World awards.


Ancient Inventions (150´, UK, 1998)
Nero's Golden House (50´, UK, 2001)
Great Artists with Tim Marlow (14x23´, UK, 2001)
Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World (115, UK, 2001)
The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan (96´, UK, 2004)
Tim Marlow on... MOMA (2x37´, UK, 2005)
In Search of Mozart (129´, UK, 2006)
Half Life: A Journey to Chernobyl - together with David Bickerstaff (39´, UK, 2006)
Heavy Water: A Film For Chernobyl - together with David Bickerstaff (52´, UK, 2006)
Escape from Luanda (72´, UK, 2007)
In Search of Beethoven (139´, UK, 2009)
Making War Horse - with David Bickerstaff (48´, UK, 2009)
Swallows and Amazons: Bristol Old Vic Sets Sail (47', UK, 2010)
The Boy Mir (90', UK, 2011)
In Search of Haydn (102', UK, 2012)
Leonardo Live (100', UK, 2012)


Heavy Water: A Film For Chernobyl

Heavy Water: A Film For Chernobyl (Orig.) / 2007 / Ukraine, United Kingdom / 52 min

Using works from Mario Petrucci’s award-winning book-length poem for Chernobyl, Heavy Water, the film tells the story of the explosion and its catastrophic aftermath.



East Doc Platform for the fifth time

East Doc Platform for the fifth time

Do you want to make a film? The Institute of Documentary Film (IDF) is looking for documentary projects in development, production and post-production for the 5th edition of East Doc Platform.

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- 19.11.2015 -

Thomas A. Østbye: Reducing Reality or Losing Control of the Film

Thomas A. Østbye: Reducing Reality or Losing Control of the Film

What is most mysterious in life is existence itself, says renowned Norwegian director Thomas A. Østbye in an interview about his documentary films and his Indonesian interactive project 17.000 Islands. The interview was made at the 19th Jihlava IDFF.

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- 6.11.2015 -

Doclisboa: Risk, Želimir Žilnik, Terrorism and more

Doclisboa: Risk, Želimir Žilnik, Terrorism and more

The 13th edition of Doclisboa International Film Festival takes place from October 22 to November 1 and shows 236 films from 40 countries, including a total of 43 world premieres. On November 2 to 15, the festival will be followed by a special Doclisboa event at DAFilms.com.

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- 22.10.2015 -

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