Remembering Muriel “Mike” Peters

Dear NYWIFT Community:

New York Women in Film & Television mourns the loss of longtime member and former board member Muriel “Mike” Peters, who passed away earlier this week after a brief illness.

Well-known among the NYWIFT community for her fierce intelligence, generosity, and wicked sense of humor, Mike was a New York-based film producer and executive whose life and work took her around the world, including significant time in India and Africa. She collaborated with luminaries including Madhur Jaffrey, Jim Henson, and Merchant Ivory Productions among others.

At a WIFTI conference in New Zeland: Lucy Lawless(Zena Warrior Princess, second from left), Mike Peters, Dorothy Rompalske, and Carey Graeber (courtesy of Carey Graeber)


Her robust list of projects included:

The Only Real Game, a documentary about baseball in Manipur; Listening to Volcanoes, a documentary shot in Indonesia in 1990-91 for PBS and BBC, with Madhur Jaffrey as presenter; Inner Space to Outer Space, a trilogy of films on Indonesia; Asia Stage Center, a television series bringing together Asian and Western performing artists; The Revenge of Two Sons, a video on the Court Dance of Okinawa; Manifestations of Shiva, a documentary feature for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Asia Society and PBS; What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Old? with DCA Productions; The Eye of the Storm, a documentary for ABC News, winner of 1970 Peabody Award and many other awards; The Day Before Tomorrow, for Newsweek Magazine; The Guru, a Merchant Ivory feature shot in India for 20th Century Fox, starring Michael York and Utpal Dutt; and Africa, a four-hour documentary for ABC which was the 1967 winner of the Peabody Award.

Mike was also Director of the Film and Broadcasting Department of the Asia Society in New York from 1977-82, during which time she was Director of “Film India” (a major retrospective of films from India, jointly with MOMA), of “Films from Korea,” and of “Cinema Indonesia,” a traveling festival in the United States. She was also Executive in charge of Film and Broadcasting for the Indo-US Sub-commission on Education and Culture from 1976-83, and subsequently consultant to that organization. She served as a consulting producer to the ASDA Foundation in 1984.

Left photo: Uday Jhunjhunwala, Richard Brockman, Mirra Bank, Mike Peters at the Taj Hotel during the Mumbai Film Festival/special screenings tour of The Only Real Game in India; Right photo: Mike Peters (left) and Mirra Bank (second from right) in with Manipuri baseball players (courtesy of Mirra Bank)


Mike started her film career in the story department of Paramount Films. Prior to that she was Managing Editor of Art News Annual in New York. She had written for numerous art magazines and acted as a consultant on Asian Art. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Letters in Oriental Art from Oxford University. Her dissertation was on the Elephanta Caves of India. 

Her passion for film lasted her entire life, and she was in development on two feature film projects during her final years through her company, Muriel Peters Productions: The Diplomat’s Wife, an original story about an American diplomatic couple in India in the early ‘60’s, which was originally commissioned by American Playhouse with a script written by Girish Karnad and Mike; and The Hidden Force, based on a Dutch classic novel by Louis Couperus, set in turn-of-the-century Java.

Left photo: Mike Peters with Major League Baseball Envoy coach Jeff Brueggemann as he estimates the orientation for a new baseball field in Manipur, India; Right photo: Mirra Bank, Mike Peters, Laine Valentino, and Richard Brockman accept the award for Best Documentary for The Only Real Game at the New York Indian Film Festival.


Fellow past NYWIFT Board Members remember Mike for her generosity of spirit, wealth of knowledge, “can do” attitude, indomitable energy, and love for her beloved New York Mets – and baseball in general.

From her friend and colleague, Past NYWIFT President Mirra Bank:

“Mike was the originating producer of our film The Only Real Game. This multi-award-winning feature doc had a critically praised national theatrical run and then went to Netflix. Shot in strife-torn northeast India, a zone occupied by the Indian army, the film follows the unlikely passion for American baseball in the tiny state of Manipur. And Mike is in the film as one of the characters; she has some beautiful moments that tie in her love for the game with her role as a film producer. This was the last film she produced (released in 2014-15) and it is a fitting tribute, as it embodies so much that Mike loved and supported throughout her life.”

 The trailer is available here.

As production begins on The Only Real Game, Mike Peters throws out the first pitch, in Manipur, India.


She was actively involved with our President’s Circle until the very end, and passionate about the importance of sisterhood in the media and entertainment industry. We are so fortunate to have the video of a 2006 conversation with Mike produced by NYWIFT’s Archive Project Committee, a living history project preserving the stories of women leaders in our industry.

Click to watch now on Vimeo.

Mike talks about her work with NYWIFT around the 13-minute mark, saying “I was the kind of girl who was always good at the intellectual things that boys were supposed to be good at. And I always equated intelligence and achievement with something masculine. Women in Film changed that. These women were more than intelligent – they were achievers and they were generous to each other.”

We hope you’ll take some time over the holiday season to get to know Mike through this interview and reflect on the trailblazing work she and our other “foremothers” did to break down barriers in the film and TV industry. Thank you, Mike, for all you gave to the NYWIFT community.

Mike Peters in Africa (photo courtesy of Nelsa Gidney)


With love and respect,



Cynthia Lopez