Phil Grabsky
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Phil Grabsky

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). He and his co-director Shoaib Sharifi continue to film in Afghanistan and plan to release a final film in 2021.

2006 saw the completion of In Search of Mozart.[2] 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 most popular films ever made on Mozart. Grabsky then made In Search Of films on Beethoven, Haydn and Chopin.[3][4][5]

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.[6]

In 2007 Grabsky completed Escape from Luanda which tells the tale of three students at Angola's only music school. Other films include history films with Terry Jones, films on Pele and Muhammad Ali, and over 100 art films with Tim Marlow.

Grabsky's most recent project - EXHIBITION ON SCREEN - connects major exhibitions from across the world and shows them on cinema screens. The series began LEONARDO FROM THE NATIONAL GALLERY and now plays in over 1500 cinemas in 55 countries. Season 7 is currently in production, which includes films on Leonardo da Vinci, Lucian Freud and Frida Kahlo.[7]

Another recent film was "Concerto: A Beethoven Journey", which followed top pianist Leif Ove Andsnes as he toured playing Beethoven's five piano concertos.[8] This film as well as the In Search Of series will be re-released in cinemas in 2019 and 2020 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth.

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.[9]

Feature documentaries

  • Easter In Art (2020)
  • Leonardo: The Works (2019)
  • Young Picasso (2019)
  • Degas: Passion For Perfection (2018)
  • Concerto - A Beethoven Journey (2015)[10]
  • Matisse Live (2014)
  • In Search of Chopin (2014)
  • Leonardo Live (2012)
  • In Search of Haydn (2012)
  • The Boy Mir - ten years in Afghanistan (2011)
  • In Search of Beethoven (2009)
  • Escape from Luanda (2007)
  • Heavy Water: A Film for Chernobyl (2006)
  • In Search of Mozart (2006)
  • The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan (2003)
  • Muhammad Ali - Through the Eyes of the World (2001)

Selected TV programmes


  • Great Art (2018-present)
  • 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[]
    • 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 .
  2. ^ In Search of Mozart (2007), retrieved
  3. ^ In Search of Beethoven (2009), retrieved
  4. ^ In Search Of Chopin (2014), retrieved
  5. ^ French, Philip (2012-01-15). "In Search of Haydn - review". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Seventh Art : Productions Archived April 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Season Seven Line-up Announcement!". Exhibition On Screen Blog. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Leif Ove Andsnes". Retrieved .
  9. ^ Escape from Luanda Archived 2008-02-13 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^

External links

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