Kind and sweet and warm and knowledgeable Franz Grabner has died. I had the privilege to work with him for many years during my years at the EDN. He was many times at the Ex Oriente workshop and pitching in Jihlava and he found it important to come to ZagrebDox when training and pitching was introduced there. And it was only natural for Mikael Opstrup and me to ask him to join us in September 2011 for the DOCMeeting in Buenos Aires. I wrote the following report on this site:
”Franz Grabner from ORF in Austria, on the contrary to the power point the previous speaker used, opened his textbook and looked down at his handwritten notes. For him the development of a film project is the most important, he wants to create a relationship with the director. We should not lose the audience, he said, and continued to express his concern about the tv audience – no young people watch television – ”sometimes I think that I am producing more for the past than for the future”. But let’s make films for the audience and not for the ratings. Grabner referred to the strong film tradition in Austria after the world war 2, with names like Haneke, Glawogger, Geyerhalter and Ulrich Seidl, and showed a clip from the Bosnian director Begovic wonderful and original ”Totally Personal”.”
Yes, Franz was for the original and personal documentary, the artistic and he was aware that the good days for that kind of films on television were over. He wanted to have a post-ORF life to make his skills available for filmmakers as a consultant after his long hospital stay. Indeed he knew his film history.
Many warm thoughts go through my head when I think of Franz, who was also the one who introduced me to wonderful Austrian red wine. My condolences to his family.