By Devon Morris (Devon On Film)
International award winning movie director Stephen Savage was all set to shoot his sixth feature film, an epic modern western entitled “The Wind Of Heaven”, in Montana in early 2016, when he was called to a meeting of the newly established Riverside County Film Office to find out what it would take to convince Savage and his producers to film the entire project in Riverside County. After all, Savage is a native Southern Californian, with homes in both Rancho Mirage and Idyllwild, as well as being the founder and director of the Idyllwild International Film Festival, and having been the director hired in 2008 by the Palm Springs Bureau Of Tourism to create five unique travel films for The Travel Channel, along with the fact that Savage’s film “Cosmic Radio” starring Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah, was the sleeper hit of the 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2008, it seemed only logical that he should be working locally as much as possible to support and promote filmmaking in the Inland Empire. And whatever was said at that meeting seemed to do the trick, as Savage has now committed to shooting the vast majority of his new film in the Garner Valley area near Idyllwild, as well as in the Coachella Valley, beginning in January.
The Wind Of Heaven is the story of a young Marine Officer returning home from Afghanistan with the full intent of taking over the family cattle business formally run by his now deceased father. But the returning warrior seems almost crippled by the onset of PTSD, and his mother is at a loss as to how to help him regain the man he was before heading off to war. After attempts by veterans administration doctors fail to help, the young man is introduced to a Native American Spirit Healer, whose track record helping soldiers return to civilian life is something of a phenomenon. It is only through the Native man’s understanding, and the soldiers connection to a wild mustang stallion at the head of a large herd of roaming horses, that the soldier begins to find himself once again able to cope with the realities of what he has been through, and how best to return to a normal way of life.
With an all-star cast that includes Jim Beaver (“Deadwood”, “Supernatural”), Mark Boone Jr (“Sons Of Anarchy”, “Batman Begins”), Kristoff St. John (Young & the Restless), Tantoo Cardinal (“Dances With Wolves”, “Legends Of The Fall”), the voice of Disney’s “Pocahontas” and “Longmire” star Irene Bedard, and Joanna Krupa (“Dancing With The Stars”, “Planet Of The Apes”), among others, The Wind Of Heaven is destined to be one of the most talked about western themed movies in years upon its release in 2017.
Without a doubt, the Coachella Valley and the mountains surrounding it are a perfect fit for a film project such as this, and as the film has been officially green lit for production this coming winter and spring, we can all look forward to a local premiere sometime in the next year or so. You can check out more about this exciting new film on the web site: www.thewindofheaven.com.