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Peter Wintonick’s Daughter On Her Quest To Complete Her Late Father’s Last Film

Peter Wintonick's Daughter On Her Quest To Complete Her Late Father's Last Film

This first person by Mira Burt-Wintonick details her quest to complete her late father Peter Wintonick‘s final film. Read more about Peter and his life’s work here.

Completing your father’s dying wish is one of the more daunting tasks that life can hand you. Particularly when your father happens to have been so brilliant that only a masterpiece would really do.

My dad, Peter Wintonick, was a remarkable filmmaker who devoted his life to the idea that documentaries can change the world, one story at a time. He passed away in November.

For the past few decades, Peter had been obsessed with the concept of Utopia. He shot hours and hours of footage as he travelled around the world on his quest. Over the years, he became busier and busier mentoring young filmmakers and jurying film festivals, and so the project was put on the back burner, but he always intended to return to it one day. He envisioned it as his final film, joking that if ever he actually found Utopia, he would just stay there and send the rest of us a postcard.

When Peter was diagnosed with cancer this past fall, he rekindled his efforts and began planning the film in earnest, knowing that the time for his final film had come. Pouring his creative energies into the project became a way for him to turn his terminal diagnosis into a gift. Unfortunately, he passed away much sooner than we’d all hoped and so the film remains unfinished.

With the help of Peter’s friends at EyeSteelFilm and with support from the documentary community that thrived in Peter’s presence, I plan to complete the film. Be Here Now will be a portrait of Peter through his obsession with searching for a better world. With Peter as our guide, we will explore the world’s imagined Utopias, from Don Quixote’s idealism in Spain, to Le Corbusier’s utopian urbanism in France, to Gandhi’s peaceful resistance in India. The film will be poetic and playful, just like my dad, and will reveal wisdom he had yet to impart.

There are dozens and dozens of tapes of Peter’s journey, each a puzzle piece that I’m hoping to assemble into some approximation of his final vision. But I need a hand putting it all together, and so we are raising money to hire an editor. There are just a few days left in our campaign and so we are reaching out for help in bringing Peter’s final film to life.

As I start to go through the footage, I travel back in time, back to a time when Peter was still alive. As he strolls through the pastures of England in search of Camelot, I hear him breathing quietly behind the camera. I catch glimpses of his shadow as he explores the Australian Outback in the bright, hot sun. And every once in a while, he turns the camera around on himself and stares right into the lens, right into my eyes.

To help bring this film to life, visit this website before February 28th.

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norma dixon

as Peter's mom, and the world and especially documentarians know of his early passing and the tributes coming far and wide, film discussed in his final days (upbeat tho' he was eventhen and always)….BE here now… appropriate, Mira-Burt-Wintonick who spoke at his 400 plus attendants funeral on the top of Mount Royal, as I did too, has support here and everywhere in his memory…I can't imagine a country in this world he didn't visit, and make a difference in so many up and coming similar minded new-media, old-media you name he did it and did it will style, compassion and verve. At 87 I'm still doing commissioned portraits, writing prose, poetry, worthwhile letters to the editor (they publish them even…as Pete would say)….on this internet off and on each day besides the volunteer giving next month of 7 items big and small, with a thought for a big church repair here in Arnprior, the auctioneer will do his best, donating his time too…….regards to all media buffs, documentarians, etc. can never forget at the last supper table with Peter in Montebello he said, come over here mom, sit with me….now intertwine your thumb with mine, 'thumbs up, dear lady'……what a son …(I only had the one boy) and a blessed daughter, Suzanne, close in age, and lost in the wilderness as myself, but taking the smile of Peter always in our minds. Be Here Now for us all…regards, Norma Dixon

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