The Info List - Roger Graef

Roger Arthur Graef OBE
(born 18 April 1936) is a theatre director and filmmaker. Born in New York, he moved to Britain in 1962, where he has made acclaimed documentary films with his ability to gain access to hitherto closed institutions, including Government ministries and court buildings.[1][2]


1 Early life 2 Career in Britain 3 Films of Record 4 Awards and honours 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Early life[edit] Graef was born in New York City, and started directing plays at Harvard University, staging the New England première of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein's opera The Mother of Us All
The Mother of Us All
in 1956, and the première of Robert Penn Warren's Brother to Dragons in 1957.[3][4] He directed 24 plays in theatres up and down the East Coast, and was chosen by CBS
for its new TV drama directors' program.[5] He directed two network dramas for CBS, including The Seven who were Hanged, an hour special adapted and produced by Robert Herridge from the Leonid Andreyev novel of the same name.[citation needed] Career in Britain[edit] Graef moved to Britain in 1962 and directed Tennessee Williams' Period of Adjustment at the Royal Court and Wyndham's Theatre
Wyndham's Theatre
in the West End of London.[citation needed] His first film was One of Them is Brett for the Society of Thalidomide Children, to demonstrate to head teachers of primary schools that the physical handicaps of the children did not stop them from being active mentally. It won the Silver Dragon at Cracow, and was shown by the BBC, CBC and ABC Scope in the US. It entered medical school curricula as well. In a BBC
interview in 2014 Roger Graef said, " Nobody had ever seen them as people, they had only seen them as cases and it entered medical school curriculum immediately because doctors had never seen them at home."[6] His film The Life and Times of John Huston, Esq for the BBC, CBC and NET in the US, was one of the very first documentary co-productions for television.[citation needed] He subsequently produced the 13-part series Who Is on artists, architects, writers, and composers for BBC, CBC, NET and Bayerischer Rundfunk, directing the episodes on Jacques Lipchitz, Pierre Boulez, Walter Gropius
Walter Gropius
and Maurice Bejart
Maurice Bejart
himself. His film Why Save Florence? (BBC/BR/NET) in 1968 revealed the scandalous state of the city's defences against flooding. His 1970 film In the Name of Allah: the life cycle of a Muslim community (Fes, Morocco) for BBC/BR/NET was the first long documentary on Islam shown in the West.[citation needed] Working with his collaborator cameraman Charles Stewart, he made the first "fly-on-the wall" purely observational series The Space between Words in 1972 for the BBC
and PBS, including Politics, the first film inside the US Senate, and Diplomacy, the first unstaged film inside the UN. He then made a series of groundbreaking access films for Granada Television. Working with Norma Percy
Norma Percy
and Brian Lapping, he made the first film inside the UK Government: State of the Nation: A Law in the Making, and in 1976 the first film inside the EU: Inside the Brussels HQ. His three part series Decision followed top-level decision-making inside Occidental Petroleum, Hammersmith Council
Hammersmith Council
and British Steel. The steel film was adapted as a short course by Harvard and London Business Schools. His 1978 series Decision; British Communism followed the evolution of a manifesto over several years. It won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Current Affairs Documentary. In 1973 Graef became a member of the board of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, and created and chaired its Architectural Forum. He also became a part-time tutor at the Architectural Association. In 1975 he was appointed to the Development Control Review of Planning Law, chaired by George Dobry QC, and he chaired the Sub-Group on Public Involvement in Planning. He promoted the early publication of planning officers' recommendations for approval or refusal of applications before the meeting, which is now standard practice. He was also on the three-man Inquiry into Control of Demolition. In 1976 he was made a member of the board of London Transport. He subsequently co-designed the London Bus Map with Andrew Holmes.[citation needed] His BBC
film, Is this the Way to Save a City? co-directed by Mike Dibb for Omnibus, delayed the redevelopment of Cardiff. Together with Simon Jenkins, he made a film for Arena showing that a Grade II listed building was demolished every day during Save Britain's Heritage Year. In 2015 he was part of the four person RIBA Commission on the Future of Housing, chaired by Sir John Banham. In the subsequent RIBA report Building the Homes and Communities Britain Needs he wrote the chapter on design. In 2016 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA. In 1982 Graef made a ground-breaking observational documentary titled Police about the Thames Valley Police. The reaction to the programme's portrayal of insensitive police handling of a rape victim changed the way in which the UK police handled rape cases.[7] In a BBC
interview in 2014 Graef said: " We showed it (the film) to them (the police) but they regarded themselves as being nice to her. First of all Thatcher talked about it in parliament, it was on CBS
news in America and also in Sweden
and other places. Our film came after three very controversial rape cases the week before and the police quietly changed the way they handled rape."[6] He directed the films/TV specials of the first three Amnesty International
Amnesty International
comedy galas in 1976, 1977 and 1979 - the last of which was the first Secret Policeman's Ball film. In 1984 he co-produced the first Comic Relief with Richard Curtis, and Look at the State We're In (BBC), a series of short satirical films on constitutional reform, with John Cleese, Hugh Laurie, Dawn French, Anthony Sher. In 2005 he produced Remember the Secret Policeman's Ball for BBC
Arena, directed by Margy Kinmonth. In 2015 he and James Rogan made Monty Python: the Meaning of Live, for uktv following the final stage performances at the O2 Arena with archive of their earlier stage work. In 2016 It was shown at the Tribeca and Toronto Documentary Festivals. Graef became a UK citizen in 1995. He was a trustee and then a patron of the Koestler Trust
Koestler Trust
for art in prisons, the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust, the Irene Taylor Trust for Music in Prisons, the Voice of the Child in Care, Who Cares? Trust and Prisoners Abroad, a charity which supports Britons imprisoned outside the UK. He is a patron of the Mulberry Bush School in Oxfordshire, the subject of Kim Longinotto's Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go for Films of Record. As a criminologist, he has made more than 30 films on police and criminal justice issues, including Police, Operation Carter, In Search of Law and Order UK (Channel 4) and In Search of Law and Order - USA (PBS and Channel 4) on positive ways to address youth offending, which influenced the National Youth Justice Board.[citation needed] Police 2001 (BBC) looked at how policing had changed since his 1982 series, Panorama: Rape on Trial looked at how much had changed in the handling of rape since his 1982 film. His 1987 fiction film Closing Ranks (ITV/Zenith) about domestic violence in the police was used in training for many years. Since 1995 he has been a Visiting Fellow and then Visiting Professor at the Mannheim Centre for Criminology at the London School of Economics. Since 2001, he has been a member of the Independent Advisory Group in Race for the Metropolitan Police. He has made many films on race and policing, including Murder Blues, three films following Operation Trident on black on black gun crime for the BBC. For Channel Four
Channel Four
he made Race Against Crime, and The Siege of Scotland Yard around the runup and publication of the Macpherson Report into the death of Stephen Lawrence. (2000). For Channel Four Dispatches, he made Not Black and White on black v Asian conflicts. And Ready for A Riot on Met training for public order disturbances following the riots around the G20 summit in London. He also made Searching for Madeleine (2007) on the mistakes of the original investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal. He has written Talking Blues: Police In Their Own Words (Harper Collins), Living Dangerously: young offenders in their own words (Harvill) and Why Restorative Justice? (Gulbenkian). He broadcasts regularly on Radio 4 and 5 and writes for the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Observer and The Guardian.[8] Graef was a founding board member of Channel Four. He was News International Visiting Professor of Media and Communications at Oxford University. He was on the Board of Trustees of the Media Standards Trust, and is a patron of Prisoners Abroad, a charity that supports the welfare of Britons imprisoned overseas and their families, as well as the Irene Taylor Trust for Music in Prisons Films of Record[edit] In 1979, Roger Graef started Films of Record, a documentary production company that specialises in tackling difficult subjects,[clarification needed] and securing access to previously closed institutions. Films of Record worked in association with Hatchling Productions on Cathy Henkel's feature-length documentary film The Burning Season (2008), which followed a young Australian entrepreneur to Indonesia on a mission to help stop deforestation and make money in the process. In the first months of 2010, Films of Record produced Julien Temple's Requiem for Detroit? (BBC), Ricardo Pollack's three-part series on medical ethics Great Ormond Street (TV series)
Great Ormond Street (TV series)
(BBC), and a series on family discord, Who Needs Fathers? (BBC). Other productions include Murder Blues, following Operation Trident on black on black gun crime., the BAFTA-nominated Kids in Care, a Panorama Special, The Trouble with Pirates on the impact of Somali piracy; and Amnesty! When They Are All Free. Graef was Executive Producer on all these films. The company's recent output includes The Truth About Adoption, which was BAFTA
Craft nominated in 2012, and the second series of Great Ormond Street. Also the award winning series [9] Films of Record is now part of factual media group Zinc Media. Graef left the company in February 2016 and started roger graef productions. He is working as Executive Producer with Rogan Productions and 72films on a number of projects in development and production. The current MD of films of record is Roy Ackerman. Awards and honours[edit] In 2004 Graef was awarded a BAFTA
Fellowship for lifetime achievement.He was the first documentary maker to receive it. He was appointed an OBE
in the 2006 New Year's Honours list for services to film-making and broadcasting. In 2013 BAFTA
held a tribute evening to celebrate Roger Graef’s 50th year as a filmmaker. Graef was awarded the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest.[10] In 2015 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival.

Requiem for Detroit? directed by Julien Temple
Julien Temple
for Films of Record won the Grierson Award for Best Historical Documentary in 2010. Feltham Sings, directed by Brian Hill and produced by Graef, won a BAFTA
Award for Best Documentary in 2004. Hold Me Tight Let Me Go, directed by Kim Longinotto and produced by Roger Graef and Richard Klein, won Best Documentary at BRITDOC, Grand Jury Prize at IDFA, Amsterdam, Best Documentary Bird's Eye Festival, Best Documentary Britspotting, Berlin Malaria: Fever Road - One World Awards: Best Documentary Race for the Beach – CBA- Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Award for Human Rights Programme Kids in Care was nominated for Best Current Affairs at the 2011 BAFTA Awards; and won a Royal Television Society Award The Truth About Adoption was nominated for Best Current Affairs at the 2012 BAFTA
Awards. The director, Clare Johns, was also nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2012 BAFTA
Craft Awards A Lifetime Achievement Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest
Sheffield Doc/Fest
in June 2014.


^ " Roger Graef – Ethics Masterclass". Watersprite. Cambridge. March 2013. Archived from the original on 22 July 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.  ^ Newburn, Tim; Williamson, Tom; Wright, Alan, eds. (2007). Handbook of Criminal Investigation. Abingdon: Willan. p. 154. ISBN 9781843921882.  ^ Scott, Gavin (24 February 1956). "The Mother O.U.A." The Harvard Crimson. Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 22 July 2013.  ^ Warren, Robert Penn (2008). Hendricks, Randy; Perkins, James A., eds. Selected Letters of Robert Penn Warren. 4. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. p. 172. ISBN 9780807133002.  ^ Shepard, Richard F. (28 February 1960). "Workshop in Action: C.B.S. Project Helps Young Directors, Writers Get a Foot in TV's Door". The New York Times. New York City.  ^ a b BBC
Radio 4 Front Row radio interview with Roger Graef broadcast 1915hrs, 13 June 2014. ^ Independent interview: 18 June 2007 ^ CiF Guardian ^ Films of Record website ^ "2014 Award Winners". sheffdocfest.com. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film, ed. Ian Aitken. London: Routledge (2005)

External links[edit]

Roger Graef on IMDb

v t e

Fellowship recipients


Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
(1971) Freddie Young (1972) Grace Wyndham Goldie (1973) David Lean
David Lean
(1974) Jacques Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau
(1975) Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1976) Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1976) Denis Forman (1977) Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann
(1978) Lew Grade
Lew Grade
(1979) Huw Wheldon
Huw Wheldon
(1979) David Attenborough
David Attenborough
(1980) John Huston
John Huston
(1980) Abel Gance
Abel Gance
(1981) Michael Powell
Michael Powell
& Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
(1981) Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda
(1982) Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
(1983) Hugh Greene (1984) Sam Spiegel
Sam Spiegel
(1984) Jeremy Isaacs (1985) Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
(1986) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1987) Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
(1988) Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1989) Paul Fox (1990) Louis Malle
Louis Malle
(1991) John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1992) David Plowright (1992) Sydney Samuelson (1993) Colin Young (1993) Michael Grade
Michael Grade
(1994) Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
(1995) Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau
(1996) Ronald Neame
Ronald Neame
(1996) John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger
(1996) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1996) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(1997) Steven Bochco
Steven Bochco
(1997) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
(1997) Oswald Morris (1997) Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter
(1997) David Rose (1997) Sean Connery
Sean Connery
(1998) Bill Cotton
Bill Cotton
(1998) Eric Morecambe
Eric Morecambe
& Ernie Wise
Ernie Wise
(1999) Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
(1999) Michael Caine
Michael Caine
(2000) Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
(2000) Peter Bazalgette
Peter Bazalgette


Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(2001) John Thaw
John Thaw
(2001) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(2001) Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
(2002) Merchant Ivory Productions (2002) Andrew Davies (2002) John Mills
John Mills
(2002) Saul Zaentz
Saul Zaentz
(2003) David Jason (2003) John Boorman
John Boorman
(2004) Roger Graef (2004) John Barry (2005) David Frost
David Frost
(2005) David Puttnam
David Puttnam
(2006) Ken Loach
Ken Loach
(2006) Anne V. Coates (2007) Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis
(2007) Will Wright (2007) Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
(2008) Bruce Forsyth
Bruce Forsyth
(2008) Dawn French
Dawn French
& Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer Saunders
(2009) Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam
(2009) Nolan Bushnell
Nolan Bushnell
(2009) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(2010) Shigeru Miyamoto
Shigeru Miyamoto
(2010) Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg
(2010) Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
(2011) Peter Molyneux
Peter Molyneux
(2011) Trevor McDonald (2011) Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
(2012) Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris
(2012) Alan Parker
Alan Parker
(2013) Gabe Newell
Gabe Newell
(2013) Michael Palin
Michael Palin
(2013) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2014) Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games
(2014) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(2014) Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh
(2015) David Braben (2015) Jon Snow (2015) Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier
(2016) John Carmack
John Carmack
(2016) Ray Galton & Alan Simpson (2016) Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
(2017) Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley
(2017) Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 91828189 LCCN: n81137810 ISNI: 0000 0001 1685 528X SUDO