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Arts & Culture

From Nepal to Carbondale, director raises money and his spirit

Faux Reel Films

Hamilton Pevec is the director of “Hanuman Airlines” and “Before the Last Drop”. He was a Carbondale resident until he moved to Nepal full-time a few years ago. Now, he’s back trying to raise money to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure after it was struck by an earthquake earlier this year. The struggle to help others as you change yourself can be a difficult road.


But now Hamilton is back in the states. He has been living and working in Nepal for 5 years now. Over the next week, he will screen his films to help raise more money for his relief efforts in the disaster-ridden country. So far he has been the point-man for his wife who has helped him  raise about $23,000. Now he is trying to raise the money himself by screening “Hanuman Airlines” and his other film “Before the Last Drop”, which hasn’t been released to the public yet. It’s about the oil and gas industry in Garfield County.

But Hamilton says he has changed since he has gone abroad. He tries to live in the moment more often. He isn’t as focused on the minutia of daily life. He thinks about the future, but doesn’t worry about it.


“I’ve let go a lot of my expectations from other people, and my environment and society," says Pevec. "I’m much more — at least in my opinion — free to be who I am and make mistakes, and make art and not worry what other people are gonna think.”


He says that this change in his personality was difficult initially. There was culture shock. He says living in the States doesn’t allow you to be the person you actually are. He realized that his his values were drastically different than the Nepalese people around him. Punctuality, for example, isn’t as important to them.


But as a film producer, he still tries to go about his job efficiently. It was hard to do that when he saw the destruction that the earthquake caused.


“This was my first really time seeing the visceral impacts," says Pevec. "Seeing the villages completely leveled, seeing people crying over the rubble. The stench of death when the winds changed direction...was a big wake-up call for me. That’s when I was like, “I have to help.”


And he did.


He went around trying to find out who to help. But he found that there were lots of roadblocks to helping people. He had to develop contacts to work effectively.


But the balance between filming and documenting and helping the people he sees is a tough one.  


“I’ve often thought about this," says Pevec. "Am I going to become a social development project? Am I gonna have to do this all like a real project? At this stage, I don’t know.”


Hamilton Pevec

The line between those two professions is difficult to choose. They each have their own pros and cons. Aid work, Hamilton says, is something he will continue to do as long as the resources he needs continue to come in.

“There’s definitely a fulfilling aspect to it," says Pevec. "Helping people, of course, feels good. Going to the parts of the country I’ve never seen before also is satisfying. I’m gonna do it, I think, as long as there’s money to spend, I will continue to do it. But this isn’t just a one or two year recovery thing. This is gonna be like a decade or more.”


Until he figures out which path he will chose, the storytelling or the rebuilding effort, he is going to leave it up to his faith.


“What I want isn’t necessarily what God wants me to do," says Pevec. "I will do what you want me to do, the best I can. If that’s continuing to do development projects, then I will do that. But I’m also a storyteller, and I think my role is greater than just trying to build people’s houses. I can think I can also tell their stories. I’m gonna look for a way to do that.”


"Hanuman Airlines" will be shown tonight at 6:45 in the Callaway Room at the 3rd Street Center in Carbondale. “Before the Last Drop” is showing next thursday also in the 3rd Street Center.