SC State’s I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium presents “A Man Name Pearl”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SC State’s I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium presents “A Man Named Pearl” with producer/director Scott Galloway as a part of the Southern Arts Federation’s Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. in the Planetarium.

“A Man Named Pearl” tells the inspiring story of a self-taught topiary artist, Pearl Fryar, whose unlikely journey to national prominence began with a prejudiced statement. In 1976, Pearl took a job in a canning factory in Bishopville, S.C. He and his family looked at a home in an all-white neighborhood. The Fryar’s were notified that they were not welcome. One homeowner voiced the collective concern: “Blacks can’t keep up their yards.”

Pearl was stung by the racial stereotype, but rather than become disillusioned he was motivated. He bought a home in a “black” neighborhood and began fashioning a garden with the modest goal of becoming the first African-American to win Bishopville’s “Yard of the Month” award.

Pearl rescued throw-away plants from the local nursery, restored them to health and began cutting unusual and intangible shapes into the plants.

Thirty years later, he has created a magical three-acre wonderland that annually draws thousands of visitors from around the world. Pearl’s topiary garden generates much-needed tourism for Lee County, the poorest county in South Carolina. The impact that Pearl and his garden has on his community transcends economics.

“A Man Named Pearl” is often told in a candid and often humorous way, the film opens both hearts and minds by offering an important message that speaks to respect for both self and others.

“A Man Named Pearl” won the Crystal Heart and Audience Choice Awards at the Heartland Film Festival. It also received the Critics Choice Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and received a Audience Choice Award at the Salem Film Festival.

Scott Galloway, the producer, has produced or executive produced more than 650 television programs for networks including ABC, A&E, Court TV, ESPN, History Channel and the Travel Channel. In 1999, Galloway co-founded Tentmakers Entertainment, a television and film production company based in Charlotte, N.C. Tentmakers went on to produce more than 500 television programs for six different networks. In 2007, Galloway formed Susie Films to specialize in high-end documentary film production. He recently directed and produced a second feature-length documentary, “Children of All Ages.”

Galloway is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, Tenn. and lives with his wife and three children in Davidson, N.C.

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of the Southern Arts Federation, a not-for-profit regional arts organization making a positive difference in the arts throughout the South since 1975. Southern Arts Federation is supported by funding and programming partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts and the state arts agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. For more information on the Southern Arts Federation and its programs visit www.southarts.org.

Following a screening of his documentary, “A Man Named Pearl,” Galloway will engage the audience in a discussion about the film and his work as a filmmaker and a reception with the filmmaker will follow the discussion.

For more information about “A Man Named Pearl,” contact the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium at (803) 536-7174.