Sunday Lecture – Citizen Hearst and Citizen Kane




Phil Grabsky

28 March 2021

£15 includes tea and cake

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The Tycoon and The Film An illustrated lecture about one of the most extraordinary Americans – William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951 – and arguably the greatest American film in history – Citizen Kane – directed by Orson Welles and based on Hearst’s life. William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951, is one of the most extraordinary individuals in American history. A wildly successful tycoon whose influences ranged over business, politics, show business and far more. His castle in San Simeon, California, remains a testament to his extravagance, his love of art and his self-belief.

As the Second World War raged, a 25-year-old film-maker called Orson Welles made a film based on Hearst’s life. This film is widely considered the greatest film ever made. Its name is Citizen Kane.

Phil Grabsky, an award-winning film-maker that has lectured at Dillington many times, returns to explore Citizen Hearst and Citizen Kane – and where truth and imagination met.

Tutor information

Phil Grabsky is a multi award-winning documentary film-maker. With a film career spanning 25 years, Phil and his company Seventh Art Productions make films for cinema, television and DVD.

In cinemas, Phil’s films have been a great success: in Australia, for example, both In Search of Mozart and In Search of Beethoven have entered the all-time top grossing documentaries. Among Phil’s many other films are one-offs for BBC strands ‘Timewatch’ and ‘Reputations’ as well as major series such as Channel 4‘s ‘Spain – in the Shadow of the Sun’ and ‘The Great Commanders’, BBC’s ‘I Caesar’ and Five & Sky Arts’s ‘Tim Marlow’ arts strand. Phil has also made six award-winning history films with Monty Python’s Terry Jones. Working with co-director David Bickerstaff, he has also completed the acclaimed short documentary Heavy Water: a Journey to Chernobyl, which uses Mario Petrucci’s poetry to explore the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Two more co-directed films with David Bickerstaff are Making War Horse – a film following the production of the smash theatre hit War Horse and The Making of Swallows and Amazons – the Bristol Old Vic Sets Sail. Both films featured on Channel 4. Recently completed is In Search of Haydn and in production are In Search of Chopin and Piano Notes – An Utterly Partial History of the Piano with Ronald Brautigam. Phil and Ben Harding also recently made the world’s first 3d visual arts film: Tim Marlow on British Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts. More recently he was behind the ground-breaking Leonardo Live – a global first in bringing the Leonardo da Vinci National Gallery Exhibition live to cinemas and television throughout not only the UK but the world. Phil has also written four history books, including the best-seller The Great Commanders, and is regularly involved as a judge for the Emmys, Bafta, Grierson and One World awards. He has been himself awarded numerous personal awards including an RTS for ‘Services to Television’ and a Voice of the Listener and Viewer Award for ‘Services to Education’. This year Phil has already won the Grand Prix Best Film Award in Warsaw, Best Documentary of the Year from the Royal Television Society (Southern) and has just been shortlisted for three One World Media Awards.

For further information about Phil Grabsky visit his website

Covid information

Dillington House wishes to reassure everyone that we are working closely with Somerset County Council to ensure every measure is being taken to make Dillington House a safe place for everyone.

All course participants will be sent further guidance prior to the course date.

Dillington House is following Government guidelines and adhering to new guidance including local or national lockdowns.

All places booked can be transferred or refunded in the event this course is cancelled. Individuals who are affected by local lockdowns will be able to transfer to an alternative course. All other terms and conditions apply.