Peter Davis

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PrintCelebrating Hoagy Carmichael

icon-jorgensen-lectureJorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series

Peter Davis

  1. Friday, November 22, 2013 3:00 p.m.
Image of filmmaker Peter Davis

Tickets are not required for Jorgensen Lectures

During a career spanning 50 years, Peter Davis has produced and directed about 70 films on social and political issues, and worked on many others. Much of his work was on apartheid South Africa, consisting of about 10 documentaries, and a book on the image of South Africa in cinema. He has documented subjects in Europe and the United States, Africa and the Middle East, and Latin America.


He became deeply involved in the anti-apartheid movement and founded Villon Films in 1970. His work has been shown on major television networks including CBC, CTV, BBC, CBS, NBC, Swedish Television, German Television, and NHK Japan.

Davis was born and raised in England. He completed his masters studies at Oxford University before emigrating to Sweden and then North America. His early career included positions as scriptwriter for the National Film Board of Canada; director-cameraman for BBC, CBC, Swedish TV, Danish TV, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and WNET; as well as producer for Swedish TV, London’s Rediffusion Television, BBC, CBS, CBC, CTV, Polytel (West Germany), WNET, the United Nations, UNICEF, and C.A.R.E.

The Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University is the home of The Peter Davis Collection, which includes not only films, but also corresponding outtakes, photographs, audio cassettes, and manuscripts. The South African material spans the period of the most intensive struggle for human rights in that country, and also includes historical footage dating from the beginning of the century.

Among the documentaries held there are Remember Mandela!, In Darkest Hollywood, White Laager and Generations of Resistance.

His films include South Africa: the White Laager (1977), a history of Afrikaner nationalism; Generations of Resistance (1980), an account of African rebellion against white rule to the student uprising of 1976; The Selling of the Pentagon (1971); Winnie Mandela and Remember Mandela (1988); and In Darkest Hollywood: Cinema and Apartheid (1994).

Davis also wrote a major book, In Darkest Hollywood: Exploring the Jungles of Cinema's South Africa (Athens : Ohio University Press, 1996). He continues to produce and distribute African and socio-political documentary and fiction films from Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada.