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March 14
, 2014

Director and Executive Producer Jay Silverman has just wrapped principal photography on his first feature-length film, a dramatic project entitled THE SECRET PLACE. Co-written by “Blue Valentine” scribe Joey Curtis, along with Silverman and Joe Gamache, “The Secret Place” stars Taylor Spreitler, Peter Coyote, Gil Bellows, Mackenzie Phillips, Rex Lee, Elizabeth Pena, Amy Davidson and Amy Price Francis. Production on “The Secret Place” took place from January through February, at various locations in and around Los Angeles and Moab, Utah.
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Based on a powerful true story, "The Secret Place" recounts the journey of Hannah Green, a 15-year-old girl who is victimized by an online predator. Unable to cope with the resulting trauma, Hannah’s behavior becomes increasingly self-destructive until her family is left with no choice but to send her to a treatment center for troubled youth. Hannah’s transition is turbulent, and she refuses to cooperate, until she finds a kindred spirit with its most unlikely patient. With the help of her mentors and the horse she’s formed a bond with, Hannah realizes painful truths about her past, and begins to face her uncertain future.

Said Silverman, "To tell a story as sensitive and emotional as this has moved me beyond words. This film is based on a story that’s deeply personal to me. It shows how even the most vulnerable can find the strength to overcome unthinkable tragedies, and pays tribute to the people who dedicate themselves to helping them find that strength."

March 12, 2014

BBC2 and BBC America will be premiering a new 4-part documentary series called "The Real History of Science Fiction", starting Saturday, April 19th, including interviews with some of the most influential writers, filmmakers, actors, and artists in science fiction. In episode 3 called "Invasion", Peter will discuss the creation of Spielberg's spellbinding classic, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" while Richard Dreyfuss will discuss "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

March 6, 2014

Vicki Larson of the Marin Independent Journal reports on the upcoming San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival - "Offerings include an animated film on the life of a sea turtle, a look at two women trying to make a living fishing in Nova Scotia, a documentary narrated by Mill Valley's Peter Coyote on the lingering effects on bald eagles of DDT in Southern California's waters, and an ultra open water swimmer's attempt to be the first to complete seven challenging ocean passages."

February 20, 2014

Peter will soon be adding another documentary to his long list of films. He will narrate a still untitled documentary about the history of San Jose. It will be directed by Mike Pierce and produced by Norman Kline Productions in partnership with CreaTV San Jose and History San Jose. They expect to wrap up by this summer.

As many of you know, Peter recently guest starred on the CBS show "Intelligence" and next he will guest star on Season 3 of "Perception" on TNT. Eric McCormack stars as Daniel Pierce, an eccentric neuroscientist and university professor who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Rachel Leigh Cook co-stars as his former student turned FBI agent who he often helps to solve complex cases. Peter will play Daniel's father, James Alan Pierce. The storyline is that Eric is in for a surprise when his father comes to town with some stunning news. Because their relationship is filled with past resentments, Eric is less than thrilled about the visit. The show's 15-episode third season will launch in summer 2014.
 

A documentary called "The Invisible Peak" about the junkyard that blemishes the highest peak on Mount Tamalpais was posted online on Valentine's Day. The 22-minute film, a collaboration by filmmaker Gary Yost, music executive George Daly and Peter, focuses on the remnants of the military's 30-year stay on land native Miwoks regarded as holy ground. The West Peak of Mount Tamalpais was bulldozed six decades ago to make way for a radar station and barracks accommodating 300. The 106-acre plateau carved at the top is now riddled with two dozen dilapidated structures that include a bowling alley and sewage facility as well as acres of foundation slabs, power lines, pipes and utility poles, as well as miles of fencing. An ambitious cleanup drive will be overseen by the Tamalpais Land Collaborative, a new consortium of local, state and federal land managers.

The film weaves newsreel clips, interviews of key players and stunning images of what remains Marin's highest spot at 2,574 feet. Daly's soundtrack includes music by British composer Michael Hoppe as well as Ron Alan Cohen of Mill Valley. Peter's narration laces the project. The film provides a historical overview as well as a spiritual perspective, aiming to generate a profound sense of the desecration of sacred ground.

January 5, 2014

There's a new TV series on CBS called "Intelligence" where you can catch Peter in a minor role. Josh Holloway stars as a high-tech intelligence operative with a super-computer microchip in his brain. The new drama also stars Marg Helgenberger as Lillian Strand, the director of the US Cyber Command and Peter plays her dad Leland. He will appear in three episodes. The series, which has an eclectic mix of action/adventure, cyberpunk, science fiction and espionage, will have a special preview on January 7 before it premieres in its regular Monday at 10 slot on January 13.

I recently came across a unique documentary with Peter, not one that he narrated, but rather one that he participated in. The 90-minute film premiered a couple years ago in San Francisco. It's called "Tie It Into My Hand", created by writer, filmmaker and violionist Paul Festa. The description reads, "An engrossing look at music and art from many different angles. Festa takes a lesson on the Tchaikovsky violin concerto from a series of artists, including actors Alan Cumming and Peter Coyote, who aren't violinists. These lessons, however, spark heated debate about music, the artist's path, teaching and more. Funny, stirring and passionate, the film will energize the artist inside you."

December 20, 2013

In the 12/15 edition of the San Franciso Chronicle, several local Bay area actors were asked the question - "How did you get into theater?" Peter responded, "When I was young and growing up in New York, my parents took me to children's theater quite often - elaborate presentations of  'Goldilocks' and 'Rapunzel' for Upper East Side kids. As I grew older they took me to adult theater, mostly musicals. The first that I remember was John Murray Anderson's 'Almanac' with Harry Belafonte. It was stunning. Full of drama, sound, music, passion. Then I put it on hold and forgot about it"

"When I got to Grinnell College, I was part of the black turtleneck sweater and Camel cigarette crowd of poets and writers. One day, the drama coach, a brilliant fellow named Ned Donaho, slid into our booth at the student center, half in the bag, and challenged me: 'Has it ever occurred to you that theater is a public argument of great moment?' he demanded. I admitted that it hadn't. He arm-twisted me to try out for the theater, and when I did I was the last piece in a puzzle for him. 'No one asks the basketball coach to use his second-string team,' Ned said. He went on to assemble a rep company in the college, and for the next four years I did plays. By my senior year, I played James Jr. in 'Long Day's Journey into Night,' and it was an epiphany. I was transported and so was the production - we had all seasoned together for four years. I could tell by the respect with which the faculty members treated me when they all came backstage, that it had been something special. Never quite got over it. When I went to get my master's in creative writing at San Francisco State after Grinnell, I joined the moribund remnants of the Actor's Workshop, until I saw Kay Hayward and Sandy Archer in the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and drove down that day to audition. The rest is history."

October 21, 2013

This year's La Femme Film Festival, held from October 17-20, featured one of Peter's narrated documentaries called "Paulo Soleri: Beyond Form". Created by filmmaker Aimee Madsen, the 80-minute film  is a cinéma vérité style documentary, that presents an intimate look at the legendary and multi talented artist, philosopher, urban theorist and architect Paolo Soleri. A man who had a dream to create an environment in harmony with man. This film focuses on how his body of work has inspired thousands of people over the years and why his technique and concepts have staying power.

October 12, 2013

Always the politically-engaged person, Peter gave a helping hand this week  to Lhamo Tso, wife of Tibetan Dhondup Wangchen, who has been imprisoned in China for six years. He was sentenced for "inciting separatism" simply because he dared to speak about about Tibetan human rights through his filmmaking. It was Lhamo Tso's intention to have cards and pictures from his children delivered for her husband's upcoming birthday on October 17th. Peter accompanied her to the Chinese Consulate but they were not received so they had no choice but to drop the envelope off in the letterbox. They then held a press conference with Lhamo Tso stating, "I’m disappointed that the Chinese Consulate would not receive us today and that my husband Dhondup Wangchen will have to spend another birthday alone in prison, far away from his family. It would have meant a lot to him to receive the cards and letters from his children who miss him a great deal. At this time, I’d like to thank Peter Coyote for his support and help today and also the many people around the world who have expressed solidarity with Dhondup Wangchen.”

October 7, 2013

The 36th annual Mill Valley Film Festival paid tribute to famed political filmmaker Costa-Gavras Friday night at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center. Costa-Gavras was in town to present his latest film, “Capital” and to receive the Mill Valley Film Festival Award. Peter moderated the event, which included conducting a Q&A with the audience. Introducing the film, he said, "It is just part of the continuum of great films. I don’t know another director that has mixed the craft of cinema with rigorous political analysis with unbending belief in the democratic process and civil liberties and rights." After Costa-Garvas walked out to a rousing ovation, conversation turned to his film career, and not surprisingly, politics. Who better to chit-chat with on the subject of politics than the Coyote! The first photo shows Peter and Costa-Gavras with MVFF's programming director Zoe Elton and festival director Mark Fishkin.

On September 17th Peter attended the Public Premiere of "Metallica Through the Never" at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center. The screening was held as a Mill Valley Film Festival Kick-off event. Here are some photos of Peter hanging out with some of the group.


August 20, 2013

Among the new documentaries this year that Peter has contributed to is "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary". One of the most famous prisoners in America, Mumia Abu-Jamal refuses to let his message fall silent. The troubling case of this black activist-journalist, who has been in prison for 30 years for the murder of a white Philadelphia cop in 1981, is examined in this documentary.  A gathering of articulate defenders, which include Peter, Cornel West, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Ruby Dee, and Dick Gregory, give voice to his radicalism and experiences behind bars. Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death, but his punishment was later changed to life without parole. The two-hour film, directed and written by Stephen Vittori, is available on iTunes and DVD.

As for official narrations by Peter, this month we can add the PBS television special, "Smarter Brains". The documentary explores the latest science on intelligence and looks at how taking on new challenges and exercising creativity can improve brain power. The film examines Designer Salvatore J. Cesarini's work as both a designer and an instructor at Parsons The New School for Design, and shows how the interaction with students and use of the latest design software stimulate him creatively. The special also features interviews with Jeff Hawkins, the inventor of the Palm Pilot, Alzheimer's disease researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and brain and intelligence experts.

June 27, 2013

These days Peter must be singing one of my favorites, "One Night in Bangkok" while filming a new movie in Thailand. French director Olivier Baroux has cast him in his film, "On a Marché sur Bangkok" along with Algerian actor Kad Merad and French actress Alice Taglioni. Filming, which began May 2nd, will wrap up by July 5th. Peter reports, "It's a very silly comedy in which I play the head of the CIA trying to prevent two French reporters from tracking down the last living person who had proof that during the Apollo Moon-landing the American astronauts were beaten to the punch by Aliens." He adds, Other than being deathly hot, we have a great time".

June 5, 2013

A documentary, narrated by Peter, won a Special Jury Award at the 2013 Worldfest Film Festival in Houston last month. International award-winning wildlife TV producer Gary W. Griffen won the award for his TV special on white-tailed deer, "The Secret Life of Whitetails." The Special Jury Awards are Grand Remi nominees and are the highest awards for creative excellence in each major film category. About 4,500 entries from around the world competed for awards and more than 30,000 people attended the 10-day event in Texas. Over the course of three years, Griffen followed white-tailed deer in all types of weather, capturing unique footage of this magnificent creature throughout its annual cycle. Filmed in high definition, this 54-minute documentary gives new insights into a whitetail's home range, diet, winter adaptations and its relationship with predators and humans.

Here are a couple new photos by Hans Peter Schneider that I've added to the Black & White Gallery:

May 20, 2013

Last month Examiner journalist Beth Pratt visited Peter's home in Marin County. She writes, "Yes, his namesake animal does wander into Peter Coyote’s backyard, along with a diverse array of critters including skunks, gray foxes, raccoons, and birds galore." For being a good neighbor to wild creatures, he's added one more achievement to his list of impressive accomplishments: an official National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat®. The program recognizes people making a difference for wildlife by creating wildlife friendly-spaces at their homes, businesses or in their communities. The article reads:

His wild menagerie (complemented with two personable cats, Jackson and Pearl) attests to his lifelong affinity for nature. “I’ve always been fascinated by animals and have felt a kinship. By the time I was eight years old I realized that everything in the world was alive and connected, and had its own business—and you didn’t interrupt it without consequences.”

A resident of Marin County in Northern California since the 1970’s, Coyote has witnessed some of the negative consequences of our actions on the natural world and considers his efforts for wildlife as simply being a good neighbor. “Habitat for wildlife is continually shrinking—I can at least provide a way station.”

After spending an afternoon with Peter at his home (nicknamed ‘The Tree House’) it’s obvious that he “walks the talk” of being a caretaker for wild things. The words of his friend Gary Snyder perhaps best describes his philosophy: “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”

Indeed, the natural world and his official dwelling seem indistinguishable, an extension of each other. From the road a series of winding staircases suspended among the redwood trees overlook ferns and other lush foliage in the creek bed below. Inside the home, you feel as if you were in the comforting embrace of a giant tree trunk. Peter describes the intent of the design: “my house and my garden are built as part of nature, not over it.”

The animals have definitely noticed the welcome mat he has extended. The garden is simply the native landscape enhanced and retains the memory of days when Roosevelt elk and grizzly bears freely roamed the area. Native wildlife—albeit smaller than the historical mega-fauna—still flock to his mini-backyard nature reserve. Peter also supplements the native plants with bird feeders. The well stocked stash of sunflower seeds entice the titmice and juncos to visit, while goldfinches feed on his offerings of gourmet thistle. While we ate lunch on his deck, a Nutall’s woodpecker eyed the suet.



Small mammals also make frequent appearances. He’s witnessed raccoon and skunk families on parade in his yard (sometimes at the same time), and one raccoon, named Monica, has raised her young in his garden for four years. A gray fox has become a regular resident—he once watched her, along with her three kits, drink from a clay water bowl on his deck.

May 10, 2013

This week Peter was in Vevey, Switzerland, participating in a film called "La rançon de la gloire", directed by Xavier Beauvois. Peter takes on the role of a judge in the story of two small-time criminals who plan to steal the coffin of Charlie Chaplin. The film is co-produced by Rita Productions Geneva. Shooting, which will wrap up by May 15th, will take place almost entirely in the Eastern Vaud. In the above photo, Peter poses with municipal Elina Leimgruber and culture delegate Stefano Stoll on the terrace of the Three Crowns Hotel in Vevey.

If you missed HBO's HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN last year, it is now available on DVD. The film, directed by Philip Kaufman, recounts the passionate and troubled marriage of literary master Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen) and the up-and-coming war correspondent Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman), the second of Hemingway's four wives. Their tumultuous relationship began when they met at a local Key West bar in 1936. They married in 1940 after romancing in Europe while Hemingway wrote his famous novel "For Whom The Bell Tolls" for which she was the inspiration. The film follows their epic romance through seven countries - from the Spanish Civil War and beyond. As she grew in reputation and stature, the spirited Gellhorn stood toe-to-toe with Hemingway, putting his famous bravado and iconic style to the test. Peter has the role of  literary editor Maxwell Perkins. 

April 5, 2013

As mentioned in the last update, Peter was feted in absentia at the American Film Festival. He received the "Making a Difference, One Film at a Time" award for his contributions to documentary film. Festival director Teddy Grouya said, "Peter, of course, thought it was a unique award and was extremely flattered, especially that we are acknowledging him specifically within this genre. In this genre, Peter Coyote tops them all!" Check out this link to see a video of Peter accepting the award.

 
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