Master of Art Award and more

We’ve had films going out far and wide – including some festivals. Both THE ARTIST’S GARDEN and MICHELANGELO were well received at the Barcelona Film Festival and I, CLAUDE MONET recently won a MASTER OF ART award for most beautiful arts film of the year. Mainly though we’ve been busy finishing the film you’re about to watch and working on next season’s. Highlights have been shooting in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Venice for CANALETTO, seeing how much people have enjoyed our HOCKNEY film at preview screenings and beginning to shoot in the south of France for our forthcoming CÉZANNE film. We’ve also had a film shoot just complete in Afghanistan but that’s a story for another day.

Great Composers Box Set from Seventh Art

We are delighted to be able to announce the release of a 4-film box set of our four major films about composers. It has been a ten year project to find out just who were Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin. The films contain dozens of extracts of wonderful music performed by – and talked about by – the world’s finest musicians. Along the way we have been fortunate enough to pick up nominations and awards from the likes of the Royal Philharmonic Society, Gramaphone magazine, Erasmus Awards and many more. They have played in cinemas around the world – now is the chance to play them at home.


Seventh Art Productions has just been nominated for a top distribution award and Phil Grabsky has been nominated for services to Event Cinema. Event Cinema really began with the Met Opera screenings in 2007 and in the past decade has grown enormously. There is a wonderful choice of theatre, opera and ballet to watch now; and of course our art series EXHIBITION ON SCREEN. We are now in 53 countries, so, as you watch this film tonight, you will be sharing the experience with audiences in Mexico, New Zealand, Iceland, South Africa and many more.


It’s been an exciting few months since our last film PAINTING THE MODERN GARDEN – MONET TO MATISSE. Not only have we been extremely busy distributing the films around the world – with lots of requests for repeat viewings of all previous 12 films – but we have been in production for Season 4 (and indeed in pre-production for Season 5 as well). Daily we have emails and Facebook messages from audiences around the world. We love to hear about the art groups that meet for coffee before or after a film. Or the school trips. Or the town halls, churches, retirement communities and so on, all showing the films as well as major cinema chains and leading independents. Alongside our art films, our CONCERTO – A BEETHOVEN JOURNEY is about to open in Australia, the Czech Republic and France. Plus we have a new boxed set of all 4 Great Composer films (Haydn/Mozart/Beethoven/Chopin) which is already proving highly popular leading up to Christmas.

Phil Grabsky’s Blog – New York – The Boy Mir, Docuweeks Theatrical Documentary Showcase 2011

Thursday 11th August 2011

A full-on documentary day. Meetings with distributors; and emails and texts galore. Watched Errol Morris’ Tabloid – there are not that many documentary film-makers whose name alone makes me want to see whatever they do. Morris, however, is one. Tabloid doesn’t disappoint – great style, entertaining and interesting – although I have to say I’m left at the end slightly unsure of Morris’ attitude to the story. Then went to a HBO-hosted event for the Docuweek Showcase. It seemed to be a clever mix of opening event and excuse to show one of their own films that isn’t in the Showcase. Marathon Boy is about that little Indian kid we all gawped at a few years back when he ran 42 miles. Very nicely made film, albeit half an hour too long. I won’t give much away but the film has many good moments and some shocks too. I was, however, left with rather too many questions. Still, the film-maker really must have worked hard and I hope the film does well for her. At the event tonight there were something like 200 folk, just to show once again how competitive the doc world is now. So it’s such a bunfight what films do well and which don’t – plus the importance of contacts, publicity budget and what-not… A few observations from this event too: 1: I listened in to three conversations. Each was exactly the same. Person one says ‘I …’ the second person listens for a pause and then says ‘I..’ and so it goes on. Not one of those people asked a question of the other! 2: at any one time there were 30 people on mobiles. No-one feels able to stand for a second on their own. 3: I overheard a woman discussing her forthcoming $65,000 food and beverage bill for her wedding. She can’t have been a documentary film-maker. 4: the Time Warner building has a great view over Central Park, reminding you that this has to be the most exciting city in the world. 5: I hope one day Mir gets to visit. Back at the hotel, the all-important New York Times review comes in…bit so-so I have to say. The reviewer loved The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan and thinks the long span of time for the new film makes it a little patchy. Which it is…but you don’t want to sit and watch a three-hour film. Luckily on Rotten Tomatoes they mark it down as a positive review with the summary: ‘If you’ve seen the first film, you’ll want to come back to see Mir’s progress through life. And no matter what happens, it seems, the smile remains.’ Also Jules Brenner on writes a great review whose summary is ‘Conveys an understanding of Afghan culture better than anything we’ve seen yet. Well worth its ninety minute screen time, and a lot more.’.

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