Sadly, it was death that brought Peter Brunette into my world in the first place. An admirer and reader of his work as a film journalist, I met him when he covered SXSW in 2007, as a critic for Screen International. What I learned soon after the festival was that his wife had died only weeks before, and attending SXSW was a way to distract himself from the grieving process. It was the first time we ever had a critic reviewing SXSW titles for Screen, and I actually believe that Brunette’s positive review of Knocked Up, helped SXSW gain credibility to studio international divisions. I would see Peter around the festival circuit for a while after that, and he was always so warm and friendly and smart. He was living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and teaching film studies at Wake Forest University, and it was a joy to spend time with him one rainy night at a Riverrun Film Festival party in Spring 2008. Here’s a photo I took from that night:
Brunette will be missed throughout the world, and it’s so sad to hear that he died this morning, while attending a festival in Italy.