Fritz Peters, a post-WWII literary heavyweight and unsung LGBTQ icon, will see his work adapted into feature films and repopulated on bookshelves.
Production label Hirsch Giovanni Entertainment has acquired movie and publishing rights to novels and memoirs by Peters, who lived as a commercial author beloved by glitterati like Gore Vidal. His work included themes of mental illness, homosexuality and spiritual growth in the ’50s and ’60s. He died in 1972.
“I was first introduced to the writings of Fritz Peters when I came across a memoir called ‘Boyhood With Gurdjieff,’ nearly 40 years ago,” said David M. Hirsch of Hirsch Giovanni. “I was so taken with his writing and his story that I set out to seek his other works and over the years discovered a treasure trove of deeply personal stories about subjects that were way ahead of their time. Because these books were no longer in print, we decided to also acquire the publishing rights in order to share these poignant stories with today’s world.”
Peters’ most notable work was his second novel, “Finistére.” It is regarded as one of the first gay-centered novels to come out of the era not concerning WWII. It details the adolescence and homosexual encounters of its main character and is said to be inspired by Peters’ own life. Acclaimed by Vidal, it received an unheard of first-run printing of 350,000 copies, according to his estate. It is also the first up for adaptation, with a screenwriter to be announced imminently.
Other works included in the option are “The World Next Door,” based on Peters’ experience in a VA hospital after the war, and “The Descent,” an exploration of seemingly unrelated characters all involved in a tragic auto accident. The Hirsch Giovanni acquisition comes with the blessing of Peters’ daughter, Katharine Rivers, who will collaborate with the company a documentary exploring her father’s life.
Memories included in the deal are “Boyhood With Gurdjieff,” “Gurdjieff Remembered,” and “Balanced Man” — all related to his time with the philosopher George Gurdjieff and his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France.
Hirsch Giovanni Entertainment is an L.A.-based content creation company with scripted, unscripted and publishing projects. The company was founded in 2019 by Hirsch and Giovanni J. Guidotti, head of the family-owned Giovanni Cosmetics, Inc.