"Peter Mettler is an incomparable talent in Canadian cinema. The innovation and audacity of his work, his dedication to the cinematic art form, and his ability to conjure up images that remain permanently etched in one's mind, secures his place as one of this country's most distinguished contemporary filmmakers." – Piers Handling, former director of the Toronto International Film Festival
From the very beginning of his career, Peter Mettler has created films deemed impossible to make, yet readily appreciated once they exist. A key figure in the critical wave of 1980s Canadian filmmakers, Mettler produces works which elude categorization. Melding intuitive processes with drama, experiment, and documentary, his films hold a unique and influential position, not only in the cinema but also in new art forms where filmmaking and other disciplines merge.
Mettler’s additional activities include a range of ongoing engagements in music, dance and photography. He has presented gallery exhibitions of photographs and videos widely across Europe and Canada, and over the last decade has developed an improvisatory live image-mixing practice that has led to performances with a diverse array of artists in a wide range of locales, ranging from radio theaters and cinemas, to dance clubs and wilderness retreats. Recent commissioned performances include a collaboration with Biosphere at Hot Docs 2014, at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival with composer Paul Frehner, and at in/future Festival with John Oswald in 2016. Most recently, Mettler has toured Europe as part of a trio with the anthropologist Jeremy Narby (The Cosmic Serpent, Intelligence in Nature) and Franz Treichler (The Young Gods).
Mettler’s collaborative partners have included with numerous filmmakers, artists and musicians, such as Werner Penzel, Michael Ondaatje, Atom Egoyan, Peter Weber, Fred Frith, Jim O'Rourke, Tom Kuo, Alexandra Rockingham-Gill, Robert Lepage, Andreas Züst, Bruce McDonald, Patricia Rozema, Andrea Nann, Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, Neil Young, Jeremy Narby, Emma Davie, and many others.
Mettler’s films have been the focus of multiple retrospectives, including at the Toronto International Film Festival, BAFICI, Lincoln Centre, Pacific Film Archive, Jeu de Paume Paris, Cinémathèque Suisse, Porto/Post/Doc, Doc Buenos Aires, DOCMA Madrid, Hot Docs, and many others. His awards include a 2003 Genie (Academy of Canadian Cinema) Award for Best Documentary, the La Sarraz Prize at Locarno Film Festival, Grand Prix and Prix du Jeune Publique at Vision Du Reel, Grand Prize at Figueira da Foz, and Best Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Writing at Hot Docs. His work has been the subject of two books, Making The Invisible Visible (1995), and Of This Place and Elsewhere: The Films and Photography of Peter Mettler (2006). In 2017, Picture Of Light was selected by TIFF as one of Canada’s Essential 150 Canadian Films.
Meditations on our world, rooted in personal experience, Mettler’s works reflect the visions and wonder of their characters and audiences alike.