Peter McDowell
Peter McDowell Senior Photo

Peter McDowell - Director and Producer, Jimmy in Saigon: Surrounded by opera as a child and trained as a musician and actor, Peter McDowell has always been drawn to melding story, image and sound in his own stage and film productions. Born and raised in Champaign, Illinois, he produced opera professionally in Chicago from 1999-2006; prior to that, he made two Super 8 short films that were shown at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival. One of those shorts, I Dream of Dorothy, went on to festivals worldwide. In addition to filmmaking, Peter works as a fundraiser, publicist, and a teacher of fundraising, which has helped him bridge the creative aspects of filmmaking with the more managerial aspects essential for production. Peter recently served as Director of Development for American Friends of the Louvre, and is the recipient of a highly competitive three-year DeVos Institute for Arts Management International Fellowship at the University of Maryland. His feature documentary film, Jimmy in Saigon, about his eldest brother James McDowell (Uni alum, class of 1965) just premiered to rave reviews at the British Film Institute’s Flare Festival and is headed for a national and international festival run in 2022. The film revolves around the death of Peter’s brother in 1972 in Vietnam when Jim was 24 and Peter was only five. Peter is happy and lucky to have lived in France, Germany, San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago, and currently resides in Los Angeles and runs his own firm, Peter McDowell Arts Consulting, currently teaching fundraising workshops for filmmakers and other artists. He stays in touch with many Uni classmates from the class of '84 and other years as well. He visits his 97-year-old mother, Ellen McDowell, often in Champaign.

Source: Submitted by honoree

Senior Quote

"And in the end - the love you take is equal to the love you make." - Lennon/McCartney

Club Membership

  • Elections Committee
  • National Honors Society
  • In the play Anne Frank senior year

Uni High Class Will

Peter McDowell, leave my undying love to Iris, my subtle acting to Lisa F., and all the
Pat Mc, Katey C, and Susan W.