Skipjack Sunday the photographer Icon Bill Peterson
Bill Peterson director/cinematographer

A Virginia native, CLIO winning director/cinematographer, father and sailor, Bill has been drawn to sailboats most of his life.  At 22, he “ran away” with some pals on the leaky old (1901) Skipjack “Freddie.” The voyage ended when "Freddie" was stolen and wrecked on the outer banks of North Carolina.

Bill captured the images for “Skipjack Sunday” at Deal Island in 1967, not long after  leaving the Richmond TV station WRVA as a producer/cameraman, .  But these negatives, (now rediscovered and digitally renovated), along with countless others, were set aside while Bill went about building his own company and successful film career.  

In 1968 he founded Colony Productions, meanwhile sailing as chief crew aboard the Skipjack "Caleb W. Jones" until his best friend/business partner sold her back into the fleet.  His reputation grew quickly as an innovative director/cinematographer that created national caliber work on local and regional budgets.  Competing with the best all over the world, Colony's productions won awards in renowned film festivals and competitions throughout the country, garnering three CLIOs, the most respected award in the commercial production industry. 

Bill's unique grasp of communicating with motion in his films won the most coveted national commercial award of all: CLIO for Best Cinematography.  “I didn’t want to see the wind, I wanted to be the wind,” says Bill.  That commercial, for the National Agricultural Foundation, also went on to be displayed in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as part of its Virginia Designers Show.  

His camera and directorial style has taken him on location from coast to coast, and includes international productions, gubernatorial campaigns, print for magazine and fashion, and longer productions, including his 28-minute masterpiece for the Virginia State Travel Service.  “And You May Find ... Virginia,” seen by millions in theaters and exhibits, was voted the best travel film in the U.S., receiving First Place in the National Outdoor Film Theatre.  

In fact Bill is the most highly decorated (in awards) regional director in the US today.    (Awards List)

 Bill currently lives and works between Virginia and Florida aboard his ’51 ketch, Colony II.”  

Bill Peterson aboard Colony II


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