The late film critic and scholar Peter Brunette will be remembered by the RiverRun International Film Festival with a new directing prize named in his honor. Starting with the 13th annual RiverRun (April 8-17, 2011), the Festival’s Narrative Feature jury will select a filmmaker to receive the Peter Brunette Award for Best Director. (Recent recipients of the RiverRun’s Narrative Feature Best Director award include Giorgos Lanthimos for “Dogtooth” in 2010 and Paolo Sorrentino for “Il Divo” in 2009).
Brunette died on June 16 in Italy at the age of 66 while attending the Taormina Film Festival. Over the past three decades, he built a reputation as a well-regarded film critic and scholar. He wrote for a variety of publications, including the Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, Screen International, Boston Globe and the New York Times, and taught for nearly 30 years at George Mason University before moving to Winston-Salem to teach film studies at Wake Forest University.
“From the very beginning, Peter was a great friend to all of us and an integral part of our festival,” commented Andrew Rodgers, RiverRun’s Executive Director in a statement. “He often served on our juries, participated in panels, suggested new films for us to consider and promoted us enthusiastically wherever he went. Put simply, his contributions helped shape RiverRun into what it is today. It seemed only fitting to name our top directing award after a man whose entire career was spent appreciating great films and filmmakers.”