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Roger Graef

Roger Graef is a filmmaker, theatre director and criminologist. Born in New York City, he moved to Britain in 1962 and has since made more than 160 films as director and producer, from In the Name of Allah (1970), the first full-length film on Islam for Western television), to ‘comedy verité’ documentaries including Pleasure at Her Majesty’s (for Amnesty International, 1976), The Secret Policeman’s Ball (1980) and Monty Python: the Meaning of Live (2014).

He is known for his films about justice, from 1965’s One of Them Is Brett, about the nurturing of a thalidomide child (followed by Brett: A Life with No Arms 50 years later), to the BAFTA-winning experimental prison musical Feltham Sings (2002). His 1976 film A Complaint of Rape changed the way police handle rape victims. He is also known for a series of observational films made inside institutions, including Politics (inside the US Senate), Diplomacy (inside the UN), State of the Nation: A Law in the Making inside the UK government, and Inside the Brussels HQ (1976), about the EU.

He is founder and chief executive officer of Films of Record. He was awarded an OBE for services to filmmaking and broadcasting in 2006, a BAFTA Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement in 2004, and Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Lifetime Achievement award in 2014. 

Beyond filmmaking, he has directed drama, theatre, opera and comedy. He co-produced the first Comedy Relief with Richard Curtis. He is also a criminologist at the LSE, and was a founder board member of Channel 4. He was visiting professor of broadcast communication at Oxford University, and has written several books on the criminal justice system. He is chair of Theatre de Complicite, social affairs advisor to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and sits on numerous boards and committees.

He tweets at @rogergraef.


► Watch One of Them Is Brett on BFI Player.


Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: Roger Graef: 50 Years of Pioneering Documentaries

Roger Graef: A BAFTA Tribute

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013: Roger Graef: Masterclass on Ethics and Good Filmmaking

Roger Graef in Conversation with Professor Conor Gearty

Articles by Roger Graef

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