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Sidney Peterson (1905-2004)


The Petrified Dog (1948)
The Lead Shoes (1949)


Sidney Peterson (November 15, 1905, Oakland, California - April 24, 2000, New York City) was an American author, artist, and noted avant-garde filmmaker. He attended UC Berkeley, worked as a newspaper reporter in Monterey, and spent time as a practicing painter and sculptor in France in the 1920s and 1930s. After World War II, Peterson founded Workshop 20 at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), thus initiating the first filmmaking courses in the history of the school.

Between 1947 and 1950 the Workshop produced five films under Peterson's guidance that were extremely influential on the burgeoning American avant-garde cinema, and have since become regarded as classics of experimental film and significant artifacts of the San Francisco Renaissance. In the years that followed, Peterson worked as a consultant for the Museum of Modern Art, made a series of documentary films, penned a novel (A Fly in the Pigment, 1961) and a memoir (The Dark of the Screen, 1980), and worked at Walt Disney Productions as a scriptwriter and storyboard artist on the never completed sequel to Fantasia.

He died in New York City at the age of 94. Peterson's films are distributed by Canyon Cinema in San Francisco and The Film Makers Cooperative in New York City.

A 2007 comic strip by Dave Kiersh in Syncopated Volume 3 (Syncopated Comics, 2007) tells of his relationship with Peterson, who was a friend of Kiersh's grandmother.

On December 30, 2009, the Library of Congress named Peterson's The Lead Shoes (1949) to the National Film Registry.

-- Wikipedia


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