Local filmmaker and Columbia College professor Peter Thompson died one week ago today. He was 68. On Friday a public memorial service will be held at Columbia’s Film Row Cinema (1104 South Wabash Avenue, eighth floor) from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Thompson’s widow, Mary Doughtery, has requested that “in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Peter Thompson Memorial Scholarship Fund.”
On his website Jonathan Rosenbaum has posted a moving tribute to Thompson, which touches on their friendship as well as Thompson’s films. I recommend it highly, along with this essay that Rosenbaum wrote for the Reader in 2004. These pieces convincingly argue that Thompson was one of the most original filmmakers to have come out of Chicago. Based on what I’ve learned from former photography students of his, Thompson was also a fabulous professor—a thoughtful instructor who related to his students on a personal level. In the presence of his films (which are set to be released in a DVD box set sometime soon) and his students, Thompson’s impact will be felt for some time to come.