Peter is an award-winning and performance-oriented screenwriter-director-producer with a strong technical background in film and video. He has extensive experience of developing, writing, directing and producing a variety of single and multi-camera projects, including single dramas, mini-series, long-running drama series, documentaries and a soap. He has written over 90 hours of broadcast television and, other than writing and developing his own material, worked as storyliner and writer on a soap and four drama series for other production companies. He enjoys the collaborative experience of brainstorming and developing storylines as part of a team, but is also happy working on his own.
He has a long-standing interest in issues around human rights, crime and society and studied legal philosophy as part of his postgraduate degree from Oxford University, the B.Phil., which preceded his B. A. Photographic Arts (at the Polytechnic of Central London). He has worked in the South African film and television industry since 1976.
Co-head-writer and scriptwriter on Covert Affairs, 13 x 48 minute SABC 3 political and crime drama series (currently in preproduction).
He also teaches screenwriting to Third Year and Honours students at AFDA, Cape Town along with wife, Margaret Goldsmid through his company, Southern Exposure.
He will be attending Story Expo in Los Angeles next week with three international feature script and one project in development by Southern Exposure. Two, based on novels by Daphne Rooke and celebrated novelist, Christopher Hope.
Television writing highlights
Peter co-wrote and co-directed the popular mini-series Riemvasmaak (2008), which has been rebroadcast twice. Riemvasmaak is set in the time of forced removals under Apartheid, and is both a moving love story and political coming-of-age story. It received eleven 2009 SAFTA nominations and won Golden Horns for production, direction and scriptwriting. The story for Riemvasmaak was researched and developed by Peter and Margaret Goldsmid.
More recently Peter wrote and co-directed the thirteen-part series Fallen (2011), broadcast on SABC 1 and rebroadcast three times on SABC 3. This story of a power struggle between two wealthy families and a young music producer out to avenge the murder of his father is located in the sugar industry of KZN.
Southern Exposure also produced (and Peter wrote and directed) four seasons of Justice for All for SABC 2, a legal drama series for which he worked closely with the police and Ajunct Professor of Criminal Law at the University of the Witwatersrand, Steven Tuson (one of the experts who delivered commentary on the Oscar Pistorius case) and the Legal Resources Centre (for whom he has also made documentaries).
In 2013, he wrote five scripts for Traffic, a 26 x 24 minute police drama series recently on ETV. It is centred on the conflict between the professional duty of a policewoman and her family loyalties. As part of the writing team on Traffic, he was nominate for a 2015 SAFTA Award.
Peter was the A-storyliner (as well as scriptwriter) on Scandal for a year from June 2010, developing many storylines for the soap until he moved away to direct Fallen (which he also wrote) for SABC 1. However he continued scriptwriting for Scandal until the end of 2011 (writing about 40 scripts).
Peter has been writing scripts since 1990, when he wrote the screenplay adaptation of Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca for an international feature film that starred Oscar-winner Kathy Bates and was voted Audience Favourite at the Montreal Film Festival. It
won Best Feature at the MNet Vita Awards and Peter was also nominated for his direction of the movie. Peter collected a Best Scriptwriting Award as well.
His most recent feature script is the screenplay he developed (with funding from the NFVF) from the Christopher Hope novel, The love songs of Nathan J Swirsky. It’s a poignant story of a young boy struggling to maintain his moral values even as he loses his innocence and at the same time a sharp satire skewering the bone-headed racism of ‘fifties English-speaking South Africa. It was selected for the No Borders Week of the Independent Film Project in New York (September 2013) and is currently in development.
Peter wrote the voice-over narrative for his documentary Dance up from the streets made for CCTV’s flagship documentary strand “Faces of Africa”. (CCTV is a new Chinese news station broadcasting to Africa and the world.) This production was conceived, developed and directed by Peter and shot in Rwanda, where it featured a remarkable programme of dance instruction that is changing the lives of former street kids of Kigali. The programme may be seen on Vimeo or IMdb (URL details on
request). It was first aired in May, 2013 and has subsequently been selected for a number of film festivals last year, including the Pan African Film Festival, Cannes, and the United Nations Association Film Festival. It was nominated for the 2015 Muse Awards of the WGSA for Best Documentary Script.
Peter developed, produced and co-directed Difficult Love, a documentary on Black lesbians in South Africa, as seen through the life and lens of controversial photographer and “visual activist” Zanele Muholi. It was broadcast on SABC 2 in August, 2011 and rebroadcast a year later. It has been seen in at least sixty film festivals around the world and won awards at eight of them, including the Audience Award for Best Short Film in the “Africa in the Picture” film festival in the Netherlands.
He also wrote and directed two hour-length television documentaries on Johannesburg architecture for SABC entitled “Johannesburg Style”.
Peter has written and directed corporate communications and training material for South African Breweries, Ernst and Young, the Restorative Justice Centre, Liberty Life, Dulux, Sasol, IBM, MacDonalds and the Legal Resources Centre and most recently for the Agricultural Research Council.
Script coverage and movie reviewing
Peter has done script coverage for the SABC on contract and reviewed movies for the Star Tonight, the Financial Mail and the Mail and Guardian. He is a past winner of the Pringle Prize of the English Academy of South Africa for an analytical article on horror films (Best Review in the field of Film, Television and Theatre Reviews)
B.A. Degree in Politics from the University of Witwatersrand (he obtained a First)
B.Phil. (Politics) from Oxford University (post-graduate degree)
B.A. Photographic Arts (Polytechnic of Central London) majoring in film
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