Harlem International Film Festival Opening Night

The 12th Annual Harlem International Film Festival is pleased to present:

Afro-Punk Sci-Fi Cinema with Live Dance & Musical Performances
featuring the World Premiere of Daniel Peddle’s must-see


Thursday, May 4, marks the debut of Daniel Peddle’s GARDEN OF THE PEACEFUL DRAGONwhich profiles Burley Luvell Benford III, an elderly African-American veteran who occupies an abandoned piece of government property by the beach in Kauai, Hawaii. After being discharged from the Marines, Benford became one of the first employees of IBM and neighbor to Timothy Leary.

A single acid trip changed his life over-night. Ditching his “suit,” he moved to San Francisco where he fell in with the Beat Poets and witnessed the birth of The Grateful Dead. Legendary music promoter Bill Graham hired him to be a bodyguard for his artists and he spent the better part of a decade jet-setting and hobnobbing with stars.

Looking for another dramatic change of lifestyle, he repaired a schooner and sailed it all the way to Hawaii. Three divorces and four children later, we find Luvell homeless, living out of his pick-up truck on the beach. A man whose incredible life story may have been lost to time is vividly rediscovered in this final chapter of his life.