Phil Grabsky

What leaves the greatest trace of my understanding and engagement with a country? It's not its politics, its food, its football team - it is culture. Music, painting, dance and so on. What draws me to visit somewhere? Yes, landscape. Yes, the adventure of discovery. But, again, it's the exposure to a different, exciting, provocative culture. I have spent my adult life travelling and making films - and could write pages about why the Austrian Cultural Forum is an essential part of Austria's interface with the world. I will limit myself, however, to my own story. In producing a film (that played in cinemas and on TVs around the world) about Mozart in 2004-5 I had doors opened and encouragement offered by the ACF in London. Through the ACF we screened the film at the Austrian Embassy to ambassadors and consuls in a night I'll never forget. Then at the ACF in Washington we did the same. I fell in love with Austria - and took my first holiday there (recommended by the ACF in London) cycling around Salzburg and later ski-ing not far from the same city. I subsequently have recommended Austria as a holiday destination to dozens of friends. Moreover, I continued to film in Austria - films on Beethoven and Haydn. Currently we are talking to the Belvedere about a major permanent collection film for our worldwide cinema brand EXHIBITION ON SCREEN. I could go on but all of this and more is directly linked to a warm welcome one morning at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London.