What’s Reality Behind Director Roger Graef’s Unexpected Death?
Rumors have it that the beloved director, Mr. Graef has sadly left us on March 2nd, 2022. Condolences have been made, informing us that Roger Graef’s death may be true. Stay with us to read more about his cause of death, his personal life, and his career.
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Born on 18 April 1936, Roger Arthur Graef OBE grew up to become a well-known theatre director and filmmaker. He who was born in NYC moved to Britain in 1962, to begin a career producing documentary films investigating previously closed institutions, such as Government ministries and court buildings.
As his earliest projects, he started directing plays at Harvard University, staging the New England premiere of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein‘s opera The Mother of Us All in 1956, and the premiere of Robert Penn Warren‘s Brother to Dragons in 1957.
Mr. Graef became a member of the board of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London back in 1973. He founded and chaired its Architectural Forum, not to mention that he became a part-time tutor at the Architectural Association.
He was appointed to the Development Control Review of Planning Law, chaired by George Dobry back in 1975, chaired the Sub-Group on Public Involvement in Planning.
To name a few of his achievements:
- Requiem for Detroit? directed by 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.
- Malaria: Fever Road – One World Awards: Best Documentary
- Race for the Beach – CBA-Amnesty International Award for Human Rights Programme
- A Lifetime Achievement Award by the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival in 2015
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What Has Given Due to Roger Graef’s Death
Following Roger Graef’s death, the heartbreaking news was announced via multiple tweets. Katie Razzall wrote: “In amongst all the news, this might not get the prominence it deserves, but the acclaimed documentary maker Roger Graef has died. He was a legend who made so many incredible films, including his ground-breaking ‘fly on the wall’ A Complaint of Rape.”
She added that the legend has passed away peacefully next to his family after a short illness. She tweeted: “He will be remembered by so many in the industry who knew him well & by all those others who may not know his name but remember his programs that shone a spotlight into many of the dark corners of life RIP.”
It captured the shocking way Thames Valley police – back in the early 80s – treated victims of rape (it shows officers grilling a woman who says she’s been raped by two men; they disbelieve her & accuse her of being on the game). It made history
Under intense scrutiny, not least from Margaret Thatcher, the police changed the way they handled rape. Roger Graef was exactly what a documentary filmmaker should be; eternally questioning, empathetic (& good at propping up the bar, certainly @sheffdocfest where i met him)Kate Razzall Tweeted
Things You Need to Know about Roger Graef’s Career
One of the first documentary co-productions for television is considered to be Mr. Graef’s film The Life and Times of John Huston, Esq for the BBC, CBC, and NET in the US.
Besides directing the episodes on Jacques Lipchitz, Pierre Boulez, Walter Gropius, and Maurice Bejart, he subsequently produced the 13-part series Who Is on artists, architects, writers, and composers for BBC, CBC, NET, and Bayerischer Rundfunk.
Noted, Mr. Roger’s first film was one of Them is Brett for the Society of Thalidomide Children, to demonstrate to headteachers of primary schools that the physical handicaps of the children did not stop them from being active mentally.
The film received the Silver Dragon Prize in Krakow, Poland, and was later broadcast by the BBC, CBC, and ABC Scope in the US. After a while, it was added to medical school curricula.
In a BBC interview in 2014, the legendary filmmaker shared: “nobody had ever seen them as people, they had only seen them as cases and it entered medical school curricula immediately because doctors had never seen them at home.”
Another thing that you should know is that Mr. Roger had been a Visiting Fellow and then Visiting Professor at the Mannheim Centre for Criminology at the London School of Economics since 1995.
Following that and his experience as a person who was a member of the Independent Advisory Group in Race for the Metropolitan Police. Mr. Graef had made many films on race and policing, including Murder Blues, three films following Operation Trident on black on black gun crime for the BBC.
He has made more than 30 films on police and criminal justice issues as a criminologist such as 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.
Reactions to Roger Graef’s Death:
Since the heartbreaking news is out, fans and friends are sending their prayers through social media.
Max Daly replied: “Very sad. He was totally groundbreaking. Worked with Dai Vaughan (who I knew) loads in the golden age of TV docs, and spoke at Dai’s funeral a while back. Top filmmaker.”
One commented: “I had the privilege of working with Roger and he gave me confidence that a moral compass (often problematic in TV) was something to be proud of. Later this month I’ll be using A Complaint of Rape to teach a documentary to MA students. Such a loss, but what a legacy he leaves behind.”
Dianamartin expressed: “So sad to hear about the death of Roger Graef, legendary TV documentary maker. I worked with him on 5 films recently, including the Crisis in Care series on the UK’s care homes. He was 85, but still executing until December. I learn such a lot from him and shall miss him.”
A fan said: “RIP the great documentary filmmaker, Roger Graef. A privilege to work alongside one of the greatest. His films changed society & the law – from how the police mistreated women who’d been raped, to schools and prisons. A kind, brilliant man with a burning passion for justice.”
Katie Derham wrote: “So very, very sad to hear Roger Graef has died. I can’t believe that energy is gone. A dear friend. Always interested, always engaged, always full of ideas, joy, and laughter. A great musician and music lover, filmmaker, campaigner. Simply a great, great man.”
One shared: “What a loss to the world, Roger Graef. A true pioneer of documentaries & a real guiding light. He pretty much invented not just a style but a way of seeing, & was forever generous with his time, giving breaks & wisdom to me and pretty much every filmmaker I know. RIP old fella.”
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