Film Festival Cologne | phoenix Award
Artist Talks mit den Preisträgern

phoenix Award

The phoenix Award is given for the best documentary film in the competition series Top Ten TV and Best of Cinema Documentary. The prize is donated by the TV station phoenix and is endowed with 10,000 euros. This year, the British documentary filmmaker Phil Grabsky is awarded with the phoenix Award for his film MY CHILDHOOD, MY COUNTRY: 20 YEARS IN AFGHANISTAN.

»I’m curios by nature« Phil Grabsky once said in an interview – surely a necessary condition for any successful documentary filmmaker. But the perseverance, thoroughness and productivity with which this Brit time and again dives into subjects is extraordinary even in his metier. One result of his perseverance is the unique long-term observation of the Afghan boy Mir that started with THE BOY WHO PLAYS ON THE BUDDHAS OF BAMIYAN (2004), proceeded with THE BOY MIR (2011) and finally brought us MY CHILDHOOD, MY COUNTRY: 20 YEARS IN AFGHANISTAN (2021). Grabsky also confronted other areas of conflict and distress in films like ESCAPE FROM LUANDA (2007) and HEAVY WATER: A FILM FOR CHERNOBYL. But besides that his attention is mostly spent on classical music and the fine arts, which he focuses on in his documentary series such as IN SEARCH OF … and EXHIBITION ON SCREEN. This is where he made films about Beethoven, Haydn and Chopin as well as about Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet and the young Picasso.

The winners of the phoenix Award in recent years are:

2020 Radu Ciorniciuc
2019 Nanfu Wang
2018 Chris Martin
2017 Kevin Macdonald
2016 Pieter-Jan De Pue
2015 Joshua Oppenheimer