From Aspen to India |

From Aspen to India

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado
Carbondale videographer Hamilton Pevec is planning a trip to India where he will help train Buddhist monks how to use video equipment. Pevec will be holding a fundraiser Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight at Steve's Guitars in Carbondale. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

CARBONDALE Hamilton Pevec is a young filmmaker on a mission: Teach the Dalai Lama’s monks how to make movies.Pevec responded to the Dalai Lama’s call for volunteers for the Namgyal Archive Project, an effort to help young monks chronicle His Holiness, and Pevec is holding a fundraiser tonight to cover the costs of the trip to Dharamsala, India to help out. “I couldn’t be more excited,” Pevec said.His father was an art director on films like “Air Wolf,” and as a child Pevec spent a lot of time on Hollywood sets working as an extra and helping out. Becoming a filmmaker was just a matter of doing what his dad did, he said.Pevec’s grandparents, John and Arlette Lawyer, have lived in the valley for more than 50 years, and the 24-year-old Pevec called himself an on-again, off-again local who comes to Aspen for the winter to work and ski.”I chose film because it encompasses all art,” Pevec said. He likes writing, music and pictures, and he enjoys collaborating.

Pevec took a month-long course at the Gulf Island School in Vancouver that he credits with tossing him into the independent production world.His first gig was a training film for liquor store employees for the Liquor Control Board of British Columbia, and he helped shoot “A Child’s Garden of Peace,” a film about his mother’s garden project in impoverished parts of Brazil. He has an extensive portfolio of shorts and a number of projects in development.Greg Poschman, a local documentary filmmaker known for his recent film “A Land out of Time,” is a friend of Pevec’s family and first started hiring the young filmmaker for projects a few years ago. It was an e-mail from Poschman about the project in India that started the ball rolling for Pevec.”I was trying to figure out what to do with my life,” Pevec said. He applied and got a e-mail back in three days asking, “When can you come?” he said.A production company visited the Dalai Lama’s monks in Dharamsala in the early 90s to teach them how to shoot footage. But the company returned only to scoop up the footage and leave the cameras with the monks, Pevec said.In the mid-1990s, a filmmaker was visiting the Dalai Lama and found a closet full of the old film and video gear. He started teaching the monks to use it properly (and not surrender the footage), and since that first filmmaker left, a succession of teachers have filled his shoes.

Pevec will replace an expert editor, who recently taught the monks to use Final Cut Pro, a digital video editing system.Pevec plans to teach the monks to “shoot to edit,” or collect enough footage to make a final product and cover temple ceremonies.”It’s really basic TV production stuff,” Pevec said.Once a guest art teacher at the Ross Montessori School, Pevec said, “I do really love to teach and be involved in classroom situations.”And the young filmmaker is a travel junkie.”I constantly want to be somewhere else,” Pevec said. He’s been to parts of South America, lived in Mexico, traveled to Asia and hitchhiked all over the U.S. and eastern Canada. (He’s making a film about his thumbing adventures.)

“It gets my blood moving, and to travel and make movies for a good cause is almost overwhelming,” Pevec said.His 6-month assignment with the monks will be his first trip to India.Though not a Buddhist, Pevec said, “I have profound respect for the Dalai Lama and the work that he does.”Pevec is holding a fundraiser party at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale from 8 p.m. until late tonight.His sister, Olivia Pevec, will lead the Hideouts, what Pevec called “a drinking band with a jam problem.” And partiers can enjoy some of Pevec’s earlier films on a big screen. Admission starts from $10, and Pevec hopes the event will help raise the more than $3,500 he needs to fund his travels to India and time teaching.For more information about Pevec, visit his website: Agar’s e-mail address is