I feel very fortunate to have met David. As it transpired, it was towards the end of his life but the man was so full of vitality that you could never have guessed he was ill. I was introduced to him following the completion of a film I’d made on a small boy in Afghanistan. One thing led to another and I shall never forget the lovely lunch of smoked salmon he prepared for me one day at his home.
I could have stayed many more hours listening to his stories – and, when I read his book, was happy to read those very same stories (almost word-for-word I have to say!) all over again. David and I met a couple of times more – and I treasure his compliments of my cinematography – if David Watkin (Oscar-winner no less!) thought I was OK, then that was good enough for me. Funnily enough, David did me one extra service: he provided me with the voice of young Mozart – Frank Adams-Brown.
Ironically, the last time we met was shortly before I headed off to make a film in Chernobyl. David thought I was mad to risk the radiation – though not once did he let on he was ill himself. Many of you will be able to claim him as a friend – I cannot do that; my times with him were three maybe four. But I feel privileged to have spent any time with him at all – and of course when I rewatch docs from the 1940s or Out of Africa, Charge of the Light Brigade, etc, I think to myself: ‘hey, I knew that guy and he was one of the best’.
Phil Grabsky, Documentary Film-Maker. 25 February 2009
In Search of Mozart (2006)
– Best Documentary – Dubrovnik Film Festival.
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.