Conscious Party: Kevin Peer’s National Geographic films

CAMERAMAN: Kevin Peer films Tuareg drummers in the Sahara Desert of Niger, Africa. The Marshall-based filmmaker will screen and discuss his three personal favorite documentaries that were made for National Geographic at a benefit for the Community Housing Coalition of Madison County on Oct. 27. Photo by Leslie Clark

WHAT: A screening of three documentary short films to benefit the Community Housing Coalition of Madison County

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Belk Auditorium at Mars Hill University, 100 Athletic St., Mars Hill

WHY: In 2016, filmmaker Kevin Peer let a few of his Marshall neighbors know he was available to screen his documentaries for a fundraiser in case a local nonprofit needed support. At that juncture, he’d already heard about the good work of the Community Housing Coalition of Madison County and was thrilled when the group contacted him in late summer about collaborating.

“Their mission is to facilitate home repair, rehabilitation and the creation of new affordable housing in Madison County,” Peer says. “I really appreciate how CHC combines compassion and good intent with intelligent and effective and down-to-earth approaches. This allows them to fulfill their mission in ways that not only get good stuff done but that also honor the pride and sense of community that the county is so well-known for.”

On Friday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Mars Hill University’s Belk Auditorium, Peer will screen 1988’s Way of the Wodaabe (27 minutes), about the last true cattle nomads of Africa and their travel to the remote site of their traditional rainy-season celebrations after a severe drought; 1986’s Masterpieces in Chalk (17 minutes), a profile of renowned street painter Kurt Wenner and his sidewalk art in Italy and Switzerland; and 1985’s The Pigeon Game (14 minutes), which looks at the pigeon wars of Brooklyn and the men who command the birds from their rooftops.

The three short documentaries are his personal favorites among the numerous films he made for National Geographic and ones that, in his words, “celebrate culture and art and passion in ways that are visually rich and fun.”

Peer hopes attendees emerge from the event “feeling very entertained and at least a little better about humankind’s capacity for beauty and wisdom and ingenuity.” In between each film, he will field questions and “inevitably tell stories of the adventures and humorous misadventures involved in making each movie.”

The screening takes place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at Mars Hill University’s Belk Auditorium. $12 advance ($10 in person), $15 at the door. $7 for students and children under 12 years old.


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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