LGBT Info

Peter Adair (November 25, 1943 – June 27, 1996) was a filmmaker and artist, best known for his pioneering gay and lesbian documentary Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (1977).

Career

Adair entered the film industry in the 1960s and first gained critical attention with his 1967 documentary Holy Ghost People, a film record of a Pentecostal snake handler worship service in the Appalachians. After he realised he was gay, he decided to make a film about it. From 1975 to 1977, he collaborated with his lesbian sister Nancy Adair and other members of the Mariposa Film Group to produce and direct Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives. The film, the first of its kind to present gays and lesbians in a positive light, was a critical hit nationwide. Word Is Out inspired Nancy to collaborate with Casey Adair, Peter and Nancy's mother, on a companion book, published in 1978. Peter Adair always chose the subject matter for his film based on his current passions, and Word Is Out was as much a vital part of his own coming out process as it was an attempt to show gays and lesbians in a very human and non-sensational manner.

In 1984 Adair produced and directed Stopping History, which examined ethical questions around nuclear weapons. Then in 1984 acted as consultant and did additional camerawork on The Times of Harvey Milk, directed by his former protégé Rob Epstein. That same year he worked with the Project Read adult literacy program of the San Francisco Public Library to produce a series of tutoring videos.

In 1986, he made "Modern Selling", a tongue-in-cheek industrial film, made in a mock-'40s style, that shows bank loan officers how to treat their female clients.