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Peter Matthiessen: No Boundaries
A stunning documentary on the literary and spiritual force of Peter Matthiessen.



Award-winning actress Glenn Close narrates documentary

PITTSBURGH – He is a celebrated writer of fiction and non-fiction, a naturalist, an explorer, and a Zen monk. He has a worldwide following while maintaining a very private life. For the first time, the essence of the literary and spiritual force of Peter Matthiessen is captured in an intimate documentary from WQED Pittsburgh: Peter Matthiessen: No Boundaries airing on Friday, April 24 at 10pm.

Independent filmmaker Jeff Sewald – who wrote, produced and directed the program – gains unprecedented access to Matthiessen, his family, friends and colleagues, and uncovers the author’s intense and, at times, controversial life in this hour-long, high- definition (HD) production for WQED and national PBS.

The documentary is a dynamic interplay between a host of elements including interviews with Peter Matthiessen, excerpts from his writings, and anecdotes from those who have known him, have worked and traveled with him; and those who have been inspired by his work. The interviews center on how the events and circumstances of Matthiessen’s life have shaped his point-of-view, established the trajectory of his spiritual quest and guided his selection of subject matter. Interviews include: NBC’s Tom Brokaw, actress Margot Kidder, poet and activist Rose Styron, preeminent field biologist George Schaller, Oscar-winning film director Sidney Lumet, and journalist Steve Kroft of CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

"It was our privilege to officially document the extraordinary life of Peter Matthiessen,” said Darryl Ford-Williams, vice president of production at WQED. “The result is a carefully woven tale of life and literature and the story of a true Renaissance man."

Matthiessen’s work deals primarily with the effects of encroaching technology on pre-industrial cultures and the natural environment. Among his many honors are two National Book Awards: the first in 1979 for his non-fiction classic “The Snow Leopard,” and recently for his novel, “Shadow Country,” in 2008.

“Our goal was to capture the fire that, for more than 50 years, has fueled Peter Matthiessen’s commitment to the environment, wildlife, vanishing cultures and oppressed peoples,” said filmmaker Jeff Sewald. “By seizing, shaping and expressing the essence of that fire in this film, we aim to help inspire a new generation of advocates and activists who share deep concerns about how mankind is negatively impacting the natural world – and, by extension, itself.”

WQED Pittsburgh, honored with the 2007 and 2006 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award for Station Excellence, was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. WQED creates, produces and distributes quality programs, products and services to engage, inform, educate and entertain the public within its community and around the world. WQED Pittsburgh is one of the first broadcasters in the country to be fully high-definition (HD) in its studio and field production capabilities. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; WQEX-TV (A ShopNBC affiliate); WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; a publishing division that includes PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org); and The WQED Education Department.


Press release, title graphic and photos of Peter Matthiessen can be downloaded from the WQED Press Room at www.wqed.org.pressroom.

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