Nfld. & Labrador

Brad Peyton's family screens San Andreas to bring Syrian refugees to Gander

The family of Hollywood director Brad Peyton is screening one of his films to raise money to bring Syrian refugees to his hometown of Gander.
Director Brad Peyton on set of San Andreas with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Peyton's family will screen the movie to raise money to help refugees. (Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Hollywood director Brad Peyton's family is screening his latest film, San Andreas, to raise money to bring Syrian refugees to his hometown of Gander.

Peyton's father Dunley says he was moved by images of a three-year-old Kurdish boy who drowned while fleeing Syria in September.

"We saw the body of young Alan Kurdi floating," said Dunley Peyton.  "It brought me to tears, frankly, and I turned to my wife Anne and i said, 'Look at this, we really have to do something,' and she said, 'Yes,' and I knew when she said yes that we'd be moved to action."

The Peytons are using their connections to organize 'a night at the movies' fundraiser.

The Peytons say their movie director son is "a proud Newfoundlander." (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Son Brad is a famous director, who's made Hollywood blockbusters including Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,  and the 2015 disaster film San Andreas.

"San Andreas came out in May, and we don't have a theatre here," said Dunley Peyton. 

"So it occurred to Anne and I that if we rented the Arts and Culture Centre and played San Andreas in the evening to an adult audience, then we could raise significant money for the cause of trying to resettle refugees in our province."

Since then, the night at the movies idea has become part of a challenge by the Anglican church in central Newfoundland.

Peyton says volunteers who attended a recent meeting at St. Martin's Church pointed out that Gander hosted hundreds of passengers on just a few hours notice during 9/11.

He says the parish has also sponsored refugees before, and knows the work involved.

"You have to support a family for a full year, so you have to find housing. You have to teach them how to drive in a North American environment. You have to teach them how to budget and manage their money, and learn the language," said Peyton.

Peyton's family says the situation in Europe is "a huge crisis' and the death of a young boy spurred them to action. (Santi Palacios/The Associated Press)

Throughout the federal election campaign, the Liberals promised to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year.

Peyton said his group is interested in bringing several families to central Newfoundland because "the crisis is overwhelming", and will work with the Association of New Canadians to decide who to sponsor.

If necessary, he said, money raised will be sent to the Association to spend as it sees fit.

"Because you know if you bring a Syrian family from the wild and colds of Europe in February, to the wild and colds of Newfoundland you may be giving them an even greater shock, so we will see how it works out. But our hope is to see some Syrian families here in Gander."

The San Andreas screening will be held Nov. 13 at the Gander Arts and Culture Centre. Tickets are $10.


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