Peter Hutton


Peter Hutton (USA), one of the foremost landscape filmmakers of the 20th and 21st centuries, was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1944 and enlisted as a merchant marine in 1962. He spent the next 15 years “hit with a heavy case of wanderlust,” travelling the world by ship. “I paid my way through art school by working on ships. I went to sea for a semester, then to school for a semester, back and forth from sea to school.” With original ambitions to be a painter, Hutton studied at the San Francisco Art Institute where he received his BA and MA in the 1970s. He later taught filmmaking at CalArts, Hampshire College, Harvard University, SUNY Purchase, and Bard College, where he served as the director of the Film and Electronic Arts Program from 1989–2016. Hutton made more than 20 films in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Iceland, Ethiopia, and China, along with films in several American cities, including New York Near Sleep for Saskia (1972), Landscape for Manon (1986–87), In Titan’s Goblet (1991), Study of a River (1997), and Time and Tide (1998-2000). Hutton’s films have screened at all major venues for artist’s film worldwide, including a full retrospective at MoMA (2008), four editions of the Whitney Biennial, the National Gallery of Art, and New York Film Festival. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989), and made numerous appearances at Media City Film Festival, including a retrospective screening (2006) and Grand Prize for the World Premiere of At Sea that same year. At Sea was named the “Best Avant-Garde Film of the Decade” by Film Comment magazine. Hutton died of lung cancer in 2016. He is greatly missed.

PETER HUTTON’S Łódź Symphony

ONLINE SCREENING DATES: May 20 – June 10, 2021

FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM: Łódź Symphony, 20 min, 1993

Łódź Symphony, 20 min, 1993

A portrait of Łódź, Poland that exists in a time warp of sad memory. Hutton creates an empty world evoking the 19th century industrial atmosphere that is populated with the ghosts of Poland’s tragic past.


In the years following my Berlin adventure I made films in Hungary (Memories of a City) and Poland (Łódź Symphony). The cold war was for me a time of forbidden pleasures, a time to wander across a landscape frozen in another era and fraught with abstract danger. It was exciting and mysterious. I became a peripatetic spy stealing dead history with my Bolex. In the Eastern Bloc countries I traveled to and filmed, I was frequently stopped by police and questioned. This never happened in West Berlin, despite all the anarchy of the 1980s and the feeling of living in a police state. I was, however, occasionally stopped from filming by radicals who thought I was the police. This was really weird. – Peter Hutton 

Read Peter’s Hutton’s The Landscape of Berlin 1980 at This Long Century here. New York Times obituary here.  All stills, photographs, and artwork courtesy Canyon Cinema ©Peter Hutton Estate. 

Screening co-presented with Canyon Cinema.