Venus Peter

Director: Ian Sellar
Screenwriters: Christopher Rush, Ian Sellar

Institute History

  • 1992 Sundance Film Festival


Venus Peter begins on a winter’s day in the late 1940s. In a small fishing village, the congregation of the local church is gathered for a christening. The water in the baptismal font is frozen, however, so baby Peter is baptized with water from the sea. As Peter grows up, his world is a combination of vivid images from his dreams, the imaginary land he sees from a hillside above the town through the telescope his grandfather has given him, and the real village where he lives, whose eccentric inhabitants often seem the most fantastic of all to him. This upbeat film follows young Peter as he learns about life’s joys and sorrows, particularly from his wise grandfather, who fishes in a boat named Venus, and who shares his great love of the sea with his grandson.

Shot off the northern coast of Scotland on the remote Orkney Islands, Venus Peter is a remarkable first feature by Ian Sellar, whose vision of the islands and the way the light, land and sea come together almost magically in this very special place infuses the film and gives it a sense of place that is almost palpable. Venus Peter is a unique portrait of a place and time that may be gone but will live on forever in memory. Inspired by the book Twelvemonth and a Day.

— David Alberico

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]