"If you lose your freedom, if you lose everything, lose your mind... Who will rescue your soul and save your life?"
The Desert River is my first feature film produced by November5Films, the creative enterprise I run with my family. Our previous film - Genes of Our Fathers - has won multiple awards and nominations on the International Film Festival circuit in 2017.
The Desert River is about a British Naval Officer who develops PTSD and substance misuse issues after serving in The Gulf. He loses everything but realises he functions better when he’s more active. In an attempt to sober up for good and win back his life he decides to walk from Casa Blanca to Cape Town along the Western African shipwreck trail. Here he comes across the wrecks of other captains and meets an ancient African Desert tribe who lead him to a special place of healing: The Desert River.
The film is an exploration of the effects of trauma, a subject which is close to my heart.
As a psychiatrist, I've come to realise that many of the mental illnesses that we treat have their genesis in traumatic life events. As a human being, I have not been immune to this. I've lost three immediate family members in traumatic circumstances, and I have suffered with PTSD myself.
My first love is music and I dreamt a song called 'The River' a year ago which sparked the idea for this film. I ended up writing the entire script and the soundtrack to this film in parallel, while living in Portsmouth this past year.
The film is being shot on location in Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Morocco, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and South Africa. The first scenes were shot in Morroco and during the summer we have filmed all of the scenes taking place in Portsmouth.
You can keep up with our progress here: http://www.risenovember5.com/the-desert-river/
"I'm tired of being afraid of people. I'm going to start walking. And I won't stop until the demons go away..."
So How Can You Help?
At present the film is about £5,000 away from completion - around 70% of the film is now 'in the can', however there are still some key scenes to shoot involving actors and action across two continents.
I am hoping to complete the filming before the end of 2017, and so the sooner funds can be secured and I can confirm actors (and their flights and accommodation etc) the better.
Anyone who donates to this campaign, at any level, will be given digital copies of both the completed movie of The Desert River, and also Genes of Our Fathers (my first film with November5Films http://www.risenovember5.com/latest-news/ )
Please watch our trailer here:
The Desert River has been and is a deeply personal journey for me, and I am humbled by and grateful for everyone who has joined me on it.
- Wendy Vernon
- Michael Reid
- Lee Jones
- Maia Suhr
- Bill Houston