Peter Olsen – no relation to Sigurd – grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where his father started putting cameras in his hands almost before he could ride a bike. After being honored as a regional finalist in the Student Academy Awards for his first 16mm film Interstates, he was accepted into the graduate film program at NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts, where his work garnered several honors, including a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, a Warner Bros. Production Award, and a nomination for the American Society of Cinematographers Greg Toland Heritage Award. Peter was also awarded a $25,000 development grant from IFP/North and the Minnesota Independent Film Fund as co-writer of the feature film screenplay Ice Nine, now in development.
Peter taught a four-week workshop on documentary filmmaking at the distinguished International Film & Television Workshops in Rockport, Maine, and a six-week course in cinematography at the Kochi University of Technology in Japan. He has served as director of photography on dozens of films including documentaries, television series, shorts, and more than ten features. His work has been seen on network outlets including PBS, The Discovery Channel, The Sundance Channel, ABC, Showtime, ESPN, A&E, HGTV and in theatrical distribution. Peter brings an invaluable distinction to the projects he shoots since he is also a writer, producer, and director. His debut feature, Kaaterskill Falls (co-directed with Josh Apter), on which he also served as director of photography, received the Critic’s Jury Prize for Best Feature at the 2001 IFP/West Los Angeles Film Festival, and was nominated for two 2002 Independent Spirit Awards. It aired eighteen months on The Sundance Channel, was released by Wellspring Media on DVD and video, and is available on Netflix.com. Peter is currently Filmmaker in Residence at The Ross Institute in East Hampton, NY. He is based in Brooklyn and Southampton, New York.